GURU RAMANA

MEMORIES AND NOTES

By S. S. COHEN
“The whole universe is but a tiny ripple on the infinite ocean of Sat-chit-ananda Ramana. I meditate on Him, the Sublime Indweller of the Heart-cavity, transcending all thought.” (Sri Ramana Gita)

S RI R AMANASRAMAM T IRUVANNAMAL AI 2003

© Sri Ramanasramam Tiruvannamalai
Seventh edition 1998 Eights edition 2003 - 1000 copies

CC No: 1018 ISBN: 81-88225-22-3

Price: Rs.

Published by
President SRI RAMANASRAMAM Tiruvannamalai 606 603 Tamil Nadu, S. India
Tel Fax Email Web : 91-4175-237292/237200 : 91-4175-237491 : ashram@ramana-maharshi.org : www.ramana-maharshi.org

Books by the same Author: Srimad Bhagavata (Condensed) Reflections on Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi

Typeset at Sri Ramanasramam Printed by Kartik Printers Chennai - 600 015

To BHAGAVAN The Dispeller of Ignorance

was able to observe him at close quarters. He was a staunch devotee who was privileged to move with the Master. we have included his small booklet Residual Reminiscences.PUBLISHER’S NOTE We are happy to bring out the 8th edition of this valuable and moving book on Sri Bhagavan written by S. recollections that are no less inspiring. study his teachings in the proper light and also record them all. S. In this edition of Guru Ramana. Cohen. We hope spiritual aspirants will find this work both absorbing and useful in their quest. RAMANAN PUBLISHER iv . SRI RAMANASRAMAM TIRUVANNAMALAI V. experience his grace. S. hitherto published separately.

Part I contains these reminiscences – my first impressions of the Master. where from time to time I jotted down the English translation of the Master’s answers to questions almost as soon as they were given. The memories of a close association with its celebrated Master Sri Ramana Maharshi. indeed. in particular. peculiar to the Vedantic Teachers and the path of Jnana. It describes. his spiritual influence on his disciples. must needs remain unexpressed. and the peaceful. contains some of my reminiscences as well as the notes which I took down at odd times during my long residence in Ramanashram. Part II consists of extracts from my notebooks. etc. who for thousands of years have sanctified this land by their presence and by their sublime teaching of the Absolute. Above all. Seekers of whatever cast or creed. have found in him their ideal of a perfect Master. unwavering devotion (Parabhakti) to the supreme Quest. Part III is the diary which I kept of the last two years of the Master’s life. They cover practically all the questions which a beginner on this path asks himself and which were actually put to him by me or in my presence. as its sub-title indicates. being of spiritual nature. With the crystal clear reason of Gaudapada and Shankara. the purity and love which radiate from him ceaselessly shed their beatific v . the conditions prevailing then in the Ashram. some autobiographical reflections and episodes. he satisfies both head and heart.PREFACE This book. are vast. but the majority. lasting for more than fourteen years. race or colour. the closing scenes of his earthly career as an illustrious member of that divine race of Rishis.

Vellore S. justifying the appellation of “Bhagavan” given to him by his very early devotees when he was still in his teens. vi . C. S.influence on all around him. in consideration of his rigorous tapas and the original knowledge of the Absolute which he exhibited at that tender age.

............................... Rebirth and Suicide ................................................... The Missionary ........................................................................................... 27 2............................. The Philosopher........................................................................................................................................... 33 7.. 3 Expectation ............................................... 19 Masters Influence .................... 31 4................... 47 vii . The Believer in the Impersonal .................. 27 I Light Dialogues:– 1............. 6 Vanaprastha – Forest or Ashram Life........................ 36 Happiness and Misery in creation ........................ 32 5..... The Pendant .......... 34 II III IV Life................ iv Preface ........... v PART I — Retrospect I II III IV V Arrival ...............CONTENTS Chapters Page Publisher’s Note ............................ The Business Man ... The Scientist .. 7 Yatra – Pilgrimage ..................... The Sceptic ................ 23 PART II — Talks Introductory ................................... 32 6................................................ 30 3.................. Death.............................................................. 45 Karma ...........................................

............................................................. 100 Diary .. 57 ................................................................................................................................................. 66 XII Samadhi.......................... 48 Ego ............ Turiya................................ Nirvikalpa....................................... 55 VIII Surrender ........ 162 viii ... 63 Meditation ......... 101 Residual Reminiscences of Ramana Preface ................................... 90 XV The Jnani – The Awakened ............................... 80 XIII Nirvana ............................... 51 VII Danger of Philosophy........................................ 161 Residual Reminiscences of Ramana ....................................... 94 PART III — Diary Introductory...................................................................... Unpremeditated Action ...V VI Free-Will........................................................................................................................... 88 XIV Heart...... Liberation ..... Sahaja ............... 56 IX X XI Maya Guru .........................

Guru Ramana Memories and Notes 1 .

PART I RETROSPECT 2 .

with eyes as cool as moonbeams. there was not a soul to be seen anywhere. My head was swimming and my senses were confused. early morning. Two sleepless nights in the train from Bombay found me tired in body and mind. and beckoning me with the gentlest of nods and the sweetest smile imaginable. which was already in a state of haze. my eyes fell on a pleasant-looking middle-aged man inside the room. grew now more confused in my haste to enter. I was led to a small dining room. So I tugged at and broke it. sitting on the floor before a leaf-plate nearly emptied. but when I arrived there at last. I later discovered. I had hoped for some rest in the Ashram. “the legal adviser” of the Ashram. “Is that Mr. Just then my guide appeared again and said: “If you have any 3 . wearing nothing but a kaupin. at the door of which I was asked to remove my shoes. Presently.I ARRIVAL The third of February 1936. As I was trying to unlace them. But the shoe lace resisted. My mind. a corpulent man with a giant rugged head and scarlet-red lips from perpetual chewing of betel-nuts appeared. Cohen? Follow me quickly before the Maharshi goes out for his walk.” he called out. who had haunted me night and day for three long months. I obeyed. He was. who sometimes acted as the de facto sarvadhikari (manager) as well. extremely eager to see the great Sage. saw my horsecart rolling on the uneven two-and-a-half-mile road from Tiruvannamalai railway station to Ramanashram. He was the Maharshi himself.

and plunged my hands into my pockets for the keys. I was alone in the Hall with him. impressive figure of the Maharshi with leisurely though firm steps.” “They are in my suit case. which was the passage to the small kitchen. He had by then finished eating and was slowly rolling a betel-leaf for a chew. had I such a delightful feeling of 4 . But alas. and. from which I understood the single word “keys. as if deliberately to give me a little more of his company. My leaf-plate was thus placed there with two rice cakes on it. and went out in search of the room to which my luggage had been taken. in a low voice. looked at me by way of farewell. gulped the cup of tea. But the keys had gone: I had dropped them in the train or at the station. I hastily swallowed half a cake. Behind me calmly walked in the tall. I was greatly embarrassed.” Then Maharshi rose. I told this to the legal adviser and immediately forgot all about them and entered the room.” I replied. when someone announced that Sri Maharshi was coming to the Darshan Hall. I took no notice of the cakes. in my hurry to race to the Ashram. I stopped thinking and rushed straight to the Hall with my hat and full suit on. It was then the Ashram’s custom to honour the newcomer by giving him his first meal in a line directly opposite the Maharshi’s seat and at hardly four feet distance from it. when a man entered from the back door. and started thinking of breaking them open. said something in Tamil to him. although my hand fingered them.fruits to offer. I could not have a bath or a change of clothes – everything was locked up in the suit cases. bring them now. and left the room. I did not know where. but directed my whole look at the peaceful countenance of Sri Bhagavan. Joy and peace suffused my being – never before.

and awaited a claim for them. absorbed as I was in the entrancing personality of this magnificent human magnet – Sri Ramana Bhagavan. wreathed in smiles rendered divinely soothing by their child-like innocence. and. The man – Sri Ramaswami Pillai – who had dropped them through the door behind me came in and explained that he had gone to the railway station on a bicycle and found the station master waiting for him. wonder of wonders! ran up to the station master and handed them over to him.purity and well-being at the mere proximity of a man. I saw him looking at me with large penetrating eyes. When after a while I became aware of my environment. The latter by an unusual flash of intuition surmised that the keys belonged to an Ashram visitor. although that was exquisitely formed and featured. whom he might have seen detrain in the morning. he picked them up. It is needless to say that from that day Ramanashram became my permanent home. My mind was already in deep contemplation of him – him not as flesh. 5 . of which I was blissfully ignorant. It appears that during the few minutes that the train had stopped at the station a passenger had providentially entered the very compartment I had vacated. All of a sudden I felt something fall in my lap and heard the jingling of keys – my keys! I looked up at the Maharshi extremely puzzled. seeing the keys on the seat. It was a series of miracles which occurred on my behalf in the short space of barely ninety minutes. and. but as an unsubstantial principle which could make itself so profoundly felt despite the handicap of a heavy material vehicle.

although the foreigner was not aware of it. fixes hour and date. he cried with all the fervour of his soul: “How long. The Indian is never in a hurry: he knows his work well. being used to work on a timetable. When many months thus rolled by and nothing startling happened. he buckles on his belt. and waits for the interview. and each moment the moment. and so on and on he goes. shuts his eyes. and rises. after all. full of unshakeable confidence. and weeks into months and the foreigner impatiently awaited the Great Experience: each day was the day. But the foreigner. sits stiff. unbelts himself. postponing his hope to the evening or the next morning. 6 . looking wistfully ahead. Then the Great Secret dawned on him – the secret influence of the Divine Man in whose radiant ocean he had been daily bathing: the interview. as if for an interview. did take place. The clock strikes again. he opens his eyes. As the clock strikes. continues his practice. how long?” But lo! what had happened to him! He looked back at his old self and looked at the present one – what a change. Good God! And he wondered what could have happened in six short months. and.II EXPECTATION Days melted into weeks. O Lord.

nor did he believe in a common. like the budding and blossoming of a flower. for he himself had attained the highest without them. and had discovered the self-evident truth. A redeeming feature was that in Ramanashram. While it is true that not all seekers are as ripe as Bhagavan was. or be in a certain place at a certain inconvenient time. the change very drastic. its spirit slowly crept into his hungry soul.III VANAPRASTHA – FOREST OR ASHRAM LIFE Thus began the pilgrim’s Vanaprastha. thus. no meetings. to which they are accustomed. need a discipline to transform the desultory life of the world. For the body the new life was hard. illustrated by his own experience. into that of self-controlled yogis. and so on. unlike in other Ashrams. yet the discipline that is imposed from without can neither bear the desired fruits nor endure. study-classes or bhajan to be attended. when the flood of Realisation suddenly inundated him in his seventeenth year and. The discipline which is not known 7 . there were no compulsions of any kind. that at the right time Realisation surges up from within by a free impulse. so that the body was spared the additional strain of having to rise at an early hour every morning. enforced discipline. no programme to be followed. Bhagavan was the most liberal of Gurus in that at no time did he consider the need to frame rules and regulations to control the lives of his disciples.

and readily applied by an inner urge of the awakened intellect. Hence Bhagavan left his disciples completely free to mould their lives as best they could.to fail is the one which is self-imposed. the false values. No sooner was it ready than I moved to it. as the next chapter will relate. convention and superstitions. the foolish expectations from ideals which are in themselves hollow reeds. particularly if the questioner was a foreigner or a north Indian – not always. which were sometimes translated into English. In March I started constructing a small hut for my residence in the neighbourhood of the Ashram. and the bitter jealousy and hatred they breed in the minds of men. This physical freedom considerably helped me to tide over the first few difficult months of my new existence. His answers were fresh and sweet. I hardly stayed in it in the daytime: my mind was wholly fixed on the Master. So I spent my days and a part of my nights in the Hall. of rank and wealth. constitutionally determined. to the social rules which have been laid down by many generations of selfishness. It is small wonder therefore that Bhagavan appears to the seriousminded as a beacon light in an otherwise impenetrable darkness. the dreary intercourse with people with whom one has very little in common. where he lived and slept. The whole month of February 1936 I lived in the Ashram in a completely bare room with a sand-covered floor and palm leaves for walls and roof. There I quietly sat and listened to the visitors’ talks with him and to his answers. To me in the beginning this was all the more perceptible in the contrast it offered to the hustle and bustle of the life on which I had just turned my back – to the wasted energy. and a haven of peace. His influence was all pervasive in his silence not less than in his speech. not to speak of the mess of politics. 8 .

without any support whatever. were stunned in amazement. including the juggler himself. Then he related to us stories from the Puranas or the lives of Saints. rushed out with a big ball of thread in hand. wanting to shame the man. The years 1936-1938 were very blissful. to which he was sensitive to the extreme. or great human tragedies. he earned his livelihood by weaving. while his hand stood high above his head in the position of that of Kabir when he threw up the ball.m. Kabir was a great bhakta (devotee) and lived in or near Benares some centuries ago.Bhagavan was then enjoying the sound. Then he shed tears which he vainly attempted to conceal. who like all true saints. Thereupon Kabir. and Sri Bhagavan’s eyes acted the amazement. when he was working on his looms. On another occasion Bhagavan recited from memory a poem of a Vaishnava Saint. After 8 p. and could very well afford to be available at almost all hours of the day to devotees. The people. he threw up the ball of thread. Some stories are memorable like the following one. tell him all our troubles and show him our letters without let or hindrance. a disciple entered in great excitement and said: “Sir. there is a juggler outside here who is attracting large crowds by making his stick stand in the air”. when we could gather round his couch and speak to him as intimately as to a beloved father. yielding to transportations of emotions when he depicted scenes of great bhakti. which went up and up unwinding till the whole thread stood stiff in mid-air. Seeing the long bamboo standing in the air. to us. when the hall contained only the local residents. in which occurred the words “Fold 9 . robust health of middle age. discouraged the display of jugglery. Although he had siddhis (psychic powers). we sat round him for a ‘family chat’ till about 10 o’clock. and to a far greater height than the juggler’s stick. indeed. One day. etc.

they found him fully awake and chatting in a soft.m. Now the parayanam would get started and go on for a little less than an hour. Another tendency which I could not completely overcome was intolerance to noise. by 5 a. subdued voice.me in thy embrace. and. when visitors and devotees began trickling in – men. during which everybody abstained from talking. Some disciples and his attendants used to sleep on the floor of the hall at night. But unfortunately I could not keep up this attendance. of 10 .. which permeated the hall and the meditation of the disciples. when the Veda chanters came from the township. and returned at about 7. while his voice shook with stifled sobs which did not escape our notice.30. breakfast. nor could I benefit by it even when present. and Bhagavan often sat cross-legged and completely indrawn. Bhagavan’s sleep was very light: he woke every now and then. Being a life-long bad sleeper I never succeeded in making the requisite six-hour sleep before six in the morning. and a little stroll on the hill. and the mind had not yet completely emerged to run its usual riot. and be in such exhilarated moods as these.” when the arms of Bhagavan joined in a circle round the vacant air before him. Then he went out for bath. Over and above this Bhagavan then shone in the stillness of his samadhi. and slept again. This morning hour of the parayanam was the best time of the day for meditation: the congregation was small. O Lord.m. the weather cool. and almost always he found an attendant nearby fully awake to say a few words to. and his eyes shone with devotional ardour. women and children – till they filled the hall by about 9 a. It was fascinating to see him acting the parts he related. women and children were absent. for my mind remained in the fog of somnolence. Once or twice he would go out for a few minutes.

or reciting some shloka in a South-Indian language. who had preceded me to Ramanashram by exactly three months. the greatest. All of a sudden a soprano voice rose from somewhere in the hall intoning some hymn or other. 11 o’clock for luncheon. These were: 9. This had its own special benefit. and 7 o’clock for dinner. it will be observed. The best I could do then was to remain in a semi-contemplative or reflective mood. Every second morning I went all alone for pradakshina – an eight mile non-stop trek round Arunachala hill – which took me almost exactly three hours to accomplish. often the latter. individual idiosyncrasies are apparent. The benefit of regularity in the practice of sadhana is here fully borne out. preceding the evening Veda parayanam. till Bhagavan went out at his usual hours. in competition with a male of the species. Another factor to a successful pradakshina and. followed by the midday stroll in Palakottu. which at times took one by surprise at a moment when the hall was plunged in silence and the atmosphere conducive to meditation.45 for a few minutes.which the hall was seldom free. I reciprocated by myself wondering how he could seriously concentrate amidst so much disturbance in the hall. At that early hour I generally was in a walking-meditation mood. to be succeeded by a tenor or another soprano. Even in as small a matter as this. particularly as I expressly made a habit of it. evening 4-45 on the hill. the only other foreign resident then. Apart from the free access to it by all and sundry there was also the freedom of singing. reserving my serious meditation to the quiet solitude of my own room. was the determination 11 . used to wonder how I could meditate in my room at all. These lonely hours I snatched from the time when Bhagavan was out. to me. Major Chadwick.

when all the offerings were collected and distributed in the dining hall at meal times. on opening the eyes sometimes found bits of edibles near his feet or in his lap. The partial fatigue experienced in the latter half of the journey automatically induced this mental rest without much effort. awaiting his pleasure. personal tragedies. The moment one came. thus. more so wealth and fame. I immediately brought my attention to the rhythm of my footfalls till the mind regained its restful state. acts of omission and commission. The constant influx of visitors was of some help in that it afforded the much-needed relaxation to an otherwise tense 12 . regrets. of which nothing is more harmful. Nothing is changeless and lasting but the natural state of the pure being. etc. I might look this side or that. It cannot be too often recommended to them to forbear looking into the past with its trials and errors. fear. Another disturbance in the hall was caused by the distribution of the offerings on the spot. passion. so that he who happened to be then plunged in meditation for an hour or so. sadhakas must be warned against the tricks of memory. not worth a moment’s regret. Somehow this practice worked marvellously well with me. This custom was wisely stopped in 1938. after having been first touched and tasted by Bhagavan. or among guests who could not eat the usual food. it went immediately round. Speaking of retrospection. Everything is dust. be they mangoes. but would never allow memory to ruin my calmness. including the seemingly indissoluble human ties. sugar-candy. love and hatred. Each time I caught memory sneaking in. nothing more destructive to the peace of mind which is necessary for a successful sadhana. raisins. and. or merely puffed rice. dates.at the very start not to retrospect – not to look back upon the past – throughout the three-hour trek. everything transitory.

“Find out who you are. who. Many of those who have had the inestimable privilege of a long stay with Bhagavan bear witness to the blessedness which his mere presence conferred on them. Psychologists deal only with the working of the mind. The problems of the mind and the conditions which give rise to them are infinitely more numerous than the variety which the physical universe presents to the human senses. This is the highest and truest siddhi which always accompanies Jnana (knowledge of the Self or Supreme Perfection). Moreover. Whilst the ultimate answer to all the questions was always the same. Rationality was the very essence of his arguments. sometimes even without comprehending the drift of his ideas.” he first met every questioner on his own ground. namely. or about his many experiences on the hill with sadhus. watching the masterly ways Bhagavan tackled these problems was sadhana in itself. the mind or Self itself. but few understand the subtle influence of the truly Perfect person. whom he actually turns into muktas. 13 . and then slowly steered him round to the source of all problems – the Self – the realisation of which he held to be the universal panacea. When the audience shrank. without the deliberate use of miracles. but Bhagavan goes to the source. of which external siddhis are totally incapable. People take siddhis as the sure sign of Perfection. works out the transformation of the people who come into contact with him. the Master at times became humorously autobiographical about his early school and home life. Secondly the peculiar problems which visitors brought with them were a useful study – study of the human mind and the endless ills to which it is subject. more so the genuine disciples. or well on the way to mukti. It was a wonder that all visitors were agreeably impressed by him.life.

Pious men used to seek his company almost daily on the steps of Subramanya’s shrine. bolted him in from outside and went to the town. By the end of 1938 I felt I must go away for a while. as the next chapter will narrate: not to part company with my sadhana. on her return. when his mother one day. although he was then still in his teens. On a certain Hindu festival day they prepared a grand dinner and came to take him to it. which I feared might 14 . There was no alternative for them but to use force. One of the stories was about a “miracle” he had once performed in Skandashram. and the door still bolted. Again and again the Master spoke of his early life in the big Arunachaleshwara temple in the first year of his escape to Tiruvannamalai (1896). etc. were assiduous in this respect. from sheer habit. till he agreed to walk with them.devotees. Bhagavan said. found him seated under a tree in the garden outside. Then there came a break in my life at Tiruvannamalai. Whilst urchins troubled him. leaving him inside a room in deep samadhi. in particular. but. Bhagavan said that that was the only house in Tiruvannamalai where he ate once. as she had left it. to prevent it from degenerating into a colourless. and. to her great surprise. The truth was. as before. that he had unbolted the two door-shutters from inside and then re-bolted them. She was so impressed by this “miracle” that she told it to everyone she met. monotonous routine. educated adults had much respect for him. Another time he was also bodily carried and bundled into a waiting cart and fed. Two lawyers. from outside. on the contrary. but that was not in a private house but in Ishanya Mutt – an Ashram-like institution for sannyasis of a special caste in the northern end of the town. which they did by joining hands and bodily lifting him. but his immovable silence indicated his refusal of their invitation.

which was pure vegetarian. This proved of much benefit at that stage of my sadhana.wreck. To the west a plain gently slopes for almost four miles down to the sea. I even for the time discarded the wearing of footwear. in between which is wedged a thin strip of the township. I had planned to stay there for a few weeks. No temple closed its doors in my face anywhere. In the end of 1939 I found myself landed in Anandashram in Kanhangad. and tobacco plantations. particularly as I had adopted the Indian dress from the beginning (1936). across fields sparsely strewn with villagers’ huts. idyllic simplicity. I liked the place and stayed on. of which Swami Ramdas was the presiding deity. almost evergreen from the torrential rains that fall there in both the monsoon seasons. coconut groves. So. Anandashram is very beautifully situated. Wherever I went Bhagavan’s name acted like a charm. but somehow I lingered for more than eight months. Even the peculiar atmosphere of this Ashram suited me in my then moods. or dry up the perennial inspirations which are necessary for continued efforts. bathed in Hindu bathing-tanks. which made it a congenial retreat at that time for me. To the east stretches a small range of sloping hillocks. on the north Kerala coast. as the spiritual moods took me. I visited temples and stayed in holy places for long or short durations. So I planned a leisurely tour in South India. Being far from the public road the Ashram enjoys a natural. After a short while I began to distinguish the psychical difference between it and 15 . Everywhere I was well received. and did my work in my own way. as it was done to non-Hindus. which is very much smaller than Tiruvannamalai. lived in Brahmin streets. quiet and sweet. and ate Brahmin food. and attended evening temple worship with the smearing of ashes on my arms and forehead.

all Ramdas’s RAM. the quickness of temper. In the spiritual life of some devotees what counts most is genuine bhakti. Bombs had dropped on Warsaw like rain. except. etc. surcharged with it. When I returned to my ashram in July 1940. the faces round one. the bouts of paralysing shyness. a doubled rate of flow of devotees. which started showing signs of age. and the very air one breathed – all were joy-inspiring. the hastiness in action. to my surprise. no doubt. I had expected to see some marks of this widespread devastation on the life of Ramanashram. The Maginot Line had cracked and crumbled. and children. the grazing cattle. Joy permeated everything: the hills. had been driven to concentration camps for a dread purpose. and Anandashram was. but it was a bhakti which was nurtured by joy. which 16 . women. the extreme sensitiveness to sound. the Second World War had already broken out. Many millions of innocent men. and which I had been trying to curb – the loquacity. but Anandashram drew me out to the spontaneity of my adolescence for a good part of the time I was there. It enhanced the boyish tendencies which had been at times causing me much inconvenience. and Paris had fallen to the mighty army of the invader. irrespective of labels and nomenclature. Poland and Czechoslovakia had been subdued. Joy and love oozed out of every pore of Ramdas’s being and infected his neighbourhood. I was greatly amused when I detected the way Ramdas was affecting me. reminiscent of Krishna’s leela in Brindavan.Ramanashram. For in Ramdas’s presence the heart expanded with joy. The only other physical change I observed was in the Master’s body. and darkness had fallen on the hearts and minds of men. but on arrival I found none whatever. I had spent fifteen years (since 1925) in comparative loneliness and silence.

One or two devotees. letters and articles written by devotees were made first to pass the censorship of the office before they could be shown to him. took to write to him letters running to several pages in very small hand on petty. The stream of visitors continued to increase.had compelled the management to curtail the attendance hours at night. provincial governors. so that the tide of settlers and visitors continued steadily to rise and included world-famed philosophers. in rain or shine. often imaginary. on which he strained his eyes for one or two hours. generals. ministers. with families for the most parts. Till the last the Master continued to instruct. the last year of his earthly life. The tide swelled and swelled and reached its zenith in 1950. so that soon afterwards sitting accommodation and easy access to the Master on personal matters became difficult. They all came. which encouraged them to write still longer letters and daily too. seeing that it had some justification. As Bhagavan’s body grew weaker. foreign diplomats. taking advantage of the Master’s compassionate nature. politicians. scholars. sprang up round the Ashram. He was too scrupulous to let a single word go unread. At first Bhagavan demurred but soon he grew resigned to the situation. members of foreign missions. In the whole history of the Ashram there has never been a bar to the seeking of 17 . A year or two later a colony of devotees. his power to influence and attract increased. In fact under the new rules. At midday the doors of the hall were closed for two hours for his siesta – the first time in the history of the Ashram. which was not without reasons. difficulties in their spiritual practice. imagining their epistles to be of great interest to Bhagavan till the management found it imperative to clamp down a ban on all correspondence to be shown or written to him. whether in war or peace.

He showed his gracious approval by a gesture of finality with his hand and said: “So much lies in your power. as the seeker’s own Self. as I used to do in the first six months of what I call my Vanaprastha life. except in the very last year when he was seriously laid up and the visitors of their own accord desisted from troubling him. if you like – had resolved themselves in various ways. or to intercept him in his walks outside the Ashram grounds. for by then all my spiritual questions – call them problems. I ceased to ask questions. As time passed and the Master’s state of mind and ideas took firm root in me. who is the ocean of Grace and Mercy seated in the heart. the rest must be left entirely to the Guru.” 18 .spiritual guidance orally from him. The final conclusion to which I came in the end of these six months I reported it one day to Bhagavan.

V. Palakottu is a large garden of about ten acres in area granted by the Government over eighty years ago to a ViraShaiva community for the purpose of growing flowers in it for the big Arunachaleswara temple in the township of Tiruvannamalai.” Sri Muruganar Swami. Sri B. century-old trees of this garden. I decided to enter it the very next day. and has a clean and well-preserved deep tank seasonally fed by the rain water. then the only inhabited place within a mile radius from the Ashram.IV YATRA – PILGRIMAGE “I thought of Thee and was caught in Thy Grace. 1936. Narasimhaswami. It lies on the Western boundaries of Ramanashram. Around the huge. and although its walls and lime plaster were still wet.” (Aksharamanamala of Sri Maharshi) The builders had put the finishing touches to my small mud hut in Palakottu garden on April 4. which falls down the slopes of the sacred Arunachala hill. the author of “Self-realisation. In Palakottu. and where some sadhakas still live. I chose for my hut a lonely site to 19 . the Tamil poet who filled a bulky tome of songs in praise of Sri Bhagavan. and many others. apart from two or three natural springs in its bottom. Yogi Ramiah. devotees of Sri Ramana Bhagavan since many years had built their small kutirs. where at different times lived Paul Brunton. And like a spider in Thy web didst Thou Keep me captive to swallow me in Thine own hour.

on his way back from his usual walk. gazed silently on the calm water of the tank for a few seconds and replied: “Your firm conviction brought you here.” I started. waited till the devotees cleared away and approached him.” He stopped in the shade of a tree. and probably thought it foolhardy on my part to live in a place which would take two to three months to dry up. In the beginning he used to take shelter from the midday sun on my verandah for two or three minutes. and. I now need your Grace to grant the eternal home for my soul. till the 4th of April. when I informed him of my intention to start living immediately in it. in order not to inconvenience him. edging the shady foot-path over which Sri Bhagavan used to take his midday walk. for which I broke all my human ties and came. but. where is the room for doubt?” Where is the room for doubt indeed! I reflected. On the fifth of April the invited devotees gathered in my hut. refusing the special chair I had made ready for him. known here as griha-pravesham. I followed him from a distance. and very reluctant to leave him even for a day. Sri Bhagavan had known of my chronic asthma. “you have given a home for my body. After the ceremony Bhagavan left. so that during its construction he could see the daily progress of the work and sometimes exchange a few words with the masons. to take place the next day. I noticed his hesitation in uttering his usual “yes”. being hardpressed for accommodation. Three years rolled by. he squatted like the others on the mat-covered floor. till one day I foolishly placed a chair for 20 . and the Master continued to pass daily by my hut.the north-west of the tank. I completed my arrangements for the warming ceremony. and about noon the Master himself strolled in. “Bhagavan. during which I made myself scarce.

that I then felt that I must quit immediately. For three months thereafter I lay on a mat in Cape Comorin. Srirangam. or. Three years. years of great soul-searching. of incessant attempts to penetrate the Master’s mind. he interpreted as interfering with my rest – hence the boycott. as if in reply to a verbal question from him.. to anyone: thus placing a special chair for him. “I feel a strong urge to go on a yatra (pilgrimage) to the South – Chidambaram..” He smiled approval and enquired about the date and time of my starting. and whether I had made arrangements for my stay in the various places I was to visit. for the matter of that. meditation.his use on the sly. Extremely touched by his solicitude. study. I continued: “No. in fact so intense.. years of extreme efforts to adjust myself to the entirely new conditions of life. Rameshwaram . which I intend spending in Hindu holy places. I answered that I was going as a sadhu. had passed since that griha-pravesham day.” but lo! a look on Bhagavan’s face struck me forcibly with the thought “Yatra! what for? Are you still in doubt?” I instantly remembered his words of long ago: “Where is the room for doubt?” and. he was extremely sensitive to the slightest trouble which might ensue from him to us. I said. “Bhagavan. now I feel that I need a change for some months. of physical and psychical strain. or expecting him every day at a fixed hour. They were admittedly intense years. and what not. and informed the Master accordingly. In solitude I 21 . Bhagavan. of reflection.” I said on a day then near my hut. Despite his full knowledge of our adoration of him. which made him once for all boycott my verandah. immensely relieved of the mental tension which the Master’s physical form had caused me. trusting to chance for accommodation.

which ran along the seashore and the interior of the Cape. The stillness of his mind haunted me everywhere I went – in the beautiful. the sweetness of the words that come out of your mouth. your cool. gem-like temple of the youthful Virgin Goddess. on the shores of the vast blue ocean around me and the sand dunes. how mighty you are and how sublime and all-pervasive is the immaculate purity of your mind! With what tender emotions do we. your gentleness. think of your incomparable qualities. even towards diseased stray animals!” 22 . your disciples.plunged in reflections on his blissful silence and calm repose. the radiance of your all-embracing love. refreshing smiles. I felt his influence in the depths of my soul and cried: “O Bhagavan. in the fishing villages and the endless stretches of coconut groves. your equal vision towards one and all. adorable countenance. your serene.

Having been a keen student of Theosophy for twelve years. 23 . namely. A close friend of mine once related to me his experience when a brief talk with the Master made him stop his fruitless pursuit of the “occult” and take to the path of knowledge (Jnana). and hardly. one Existence.. is great indeed. evoking spiritual responses of great magnitude. of invisible Masters. if at all. I let him use his own words:– “On one of those happy days of July . supersensuous initiations and meetings. “Occult” Theosophy speaks of spheres and planes. hierarchies. of the Reality. run along parallels which never meet. for such aspirants touch a sympathetic chord in his soul. one Life. I discovered. I decided at last to acquaint the Maharshi with the disturbed state of my mind.V MASTER’S INFLUENCE The influence of Sri Maharshi on genuine seekers. Adepts. I had imbibed notions and theories which conflicted in almost every important respect with the Maharshi’s teaching. after a number of months’ stay in the Ashram. reflected and argued with myself. the one Self. Theosophy and Vedanta.. of journeys into planets. notwithstanding the claim of Theosophy to the contrary. rays. who leave the world behind and turn pilgrims on the path of the Absolute. which Bhagavan propounds and which has proved of immense benefit to those who had followed it.. during which I had listened. with which the Vedanta and Maharshi exclusively deal.

valid experience. to cause the automatic subsidence of that self-asserting element in the sadhaka’s nature. before the hall filled with devotees. My fate and all that I was. but the result of Grace.” But this was not the only case of spontaneous surrender. keeping alive the incense fire and fixing new incense sticks in their silver stand. Stick to only one form of sadhana. Spiritual surrender. Practice alone will show you where the truth lies. This knowledge encouraged me to explain to him slowly and briefly in clear. Nothing I knew gave greater pleasure to the Maharshi than to listen attentively to his devotees’ spiritual difficulties and give his advice. and on that day I made up my mind to speak alone with him. “I was finally convinced that the Maharshi spoke from direct. when I drew near his sofa and squatted on the bare floor. he remained pensive for a few seconds and. After I finished. all preconceptions must go.In fact seekers are again and again reminded that occult powers are diametrically opposed to the truth they seek. in the same language but with considerable deliberation. which comes in its own time and of its own accord. I was suddenly gripped by an overwhelming urge to surrender unreservedly to him to guide me in my spiritual hunger. still less an oral act. said: ‘Yes. “It was eight in the morning. Sri Bhagavan had just entered and had hardly settled in his usual place. which stands in his way to ultimate realisation. simple English the agitations of my mind. is not a mental. But apart from the words he uttered. you are right. The attendant alone was present. Sometimes it is 24 . abandoning all the methods I had previously followed and all the beliefs on which I had built my hopes. passed from that moment into the sacred hands of Sri Bhagavan for ever. but he did not understand English. then. we are told.’ “That was a clear pointer.

25 . who alone can lead to it and. and for the appearance of the Divine Teacher. though it comes from the Guru by his very presence. prayer. Grace. and sometimes so gradual.sudden. self-purification. is not fortuitous. to Redemption. thus. that the devotee himself may not become aware of it. Suffering turns the mind inward and eventually draws out the cry from the depths of the soul for the liberating light of Truth. and intense yearning for release. by long periods of suffering. but fully earned by hard internal fight.

PART II TALKS 26 .

As a rule. Many of them reveal a genuine desire to know the truth. their personal predilections and phobias. All benefit by his company. when he turns worldly questions into spiritual hints. Almost all of them make it a point to visit the Ashram from time to time to have his darshan and light the torch of their inner fervour from his divine flame.INTRODUCTORY Visitors to the Ashram come from all parts of the world and all strata of society. Some answers are couched in a humorous vein. but the others take to meditation and study. which helps keeping up their link with him and preserving their mental balance in the intervals. and follow his teaching in their meditation as best they can. Some have a punning ring about them. Bhagavan graciously answers – fully. which sometimes baffle the questioner. 27 . Most of the devotees who are counted by the thousand are grihastas (householders). and calmly. A small minority have settled inside. their religious and philosophical beliefs. their inner urges and so on. and even spiritual hunger. their social concepts. when humour is inherent in the questions. The questions they ask naturally reflect their mental outlooks. or in the neighbourhood of the Ashram. pursue their normal avocations. all questions. of whom some serve in the Ashram. for guru-sanga is said to be far more quickening than the ordinary sat-sanga. But the best are the ones which concern sadhana and yogic practice. who continue to lead their normal life in their homes. except the impossible and the patently argumentative. spontaneously.

That was therefore my only device to preserve for myself at first hand the valuable oral teaching of the Master. I conceived the idea of recording as many of the talks held in my presence and translated into English as I could. I have classified most of the notes according to subject and. except the devotee appointed for that purpose. and then jot it down verbatim in my notebook as faithfully as possible as soon as I returned to my room. or Mr. All I had to do was to concentrate my whole attention on the talk. It was all along forbidden to write or take down notes in the Hall. For. Bhagavan’s answers to these questions I recorded particularly carefully..Soon after my arrival at Tiruvannamalai. Bhagavan always spoke in Tamil. The visitors who knew none of these South Indian languages received their answers through an interpreter in English. try to memorise it. when it was still fresh in my mind. in chronological order. C. although the Maharshi could read and understand English very well. when he answered in the same languages. as far as possible. 28 . mainly on the technique of meditation. for the convenience of the reader. In the first year of my stay I was a keen and close questioner. beginning with the light ones. Some of them appear here under my own initial C. and he too was stopped after about two years. except when the questions were put in Telugu or Malayalam. he could not speak it sufficiently well for lack of practice. as that of the questioner.

It is but right that the reader should have a peep into both. 1. Bhagavan. Dr. When I read in the Kabbala and the Puranas that God has these organs. His Cosmic Dance – which is all joy and beauty. Why don’t you laugh at yourself for having them? 29 . ears. H. nose. H. who spent a few weeks in the Ashram in February 1936. asked Sri Maharshi if there exists such a thing as a Personal God.? Bh. I laugh. Yes. But nothing is farther from my mind than to disparage anyone in recording the following dialogues or to exalt them as specimens of his humour: they merely reflect the minds of some visitors. if you have them why should not God also have them? C.I LIGHT DIALOGUES The great awe which Sri Bhagavan inspires makes him appear to new visitors too lofty. as the serious questions reflect those of the more serious. of the small group of Americans. too majestic for humour. etc. Bh. Their cosmic vision makes them view all phenomena and events as the mere play of the Lord – His Leela.. but soon afterwards they realise the fact that refined humour and wit emanate from that divine bliss which all spiritual Masters enjoy in an eminent degree. Yes. (with astonishment) What? with eyes. THE BELIEVER IN THE IMPERSONAL Dr. Ishvara.

and started telling his adventure on the hill. if you give me Self Realisation. Oh. At last the American friend was found and brought down. Tomorrow I am leaving this place and shall always think of you. He had heard of the sanctity of the hill and of the number of disembodied siddhas (saints with psychic powers) who dwell in it in their astral bodies. as he confided later to a friend. he immediately despatched devotees with gas lamps in search of him. having been told that he had been seen going up late in the evening. who in those days kept a watchful eye over newcomers. (thinking that Maharshi was going to use siddhis to 30 . and who at times were said to appear physically to some privileged persons.2. came alone again to the Ashram for a few days’ stay. THE BUSINESS MAN Sometime afterwards Dr. and. On that chair he sat. Am. Indeed I’ll be very happy. There was a cane chair – the only one in the Hall – opposite Sri Bhagavan’s sofa. he continued to roam among the boulders long after dark. He entered the Hall jaded and with clothes wet from the drizzle that had fallen during his jaunt. After finishing his story. he took it into his head to have his fill of the hill with. he turned to Sri Bhagavan and naively said:American. Sri Bhagavan. Bh. how grateful I’ll be to you! Bhagavan. the secret hope of coming face to face with one of them. On the last night of his stay. H. (gently chuckling) You will never go. Being ignorant of the difficulty of the ground at night. missed him. Eum! Eum! Am. Maharishi. particularly foreigners.

prevent him from going, he was very scared indeed.) How? I am certainly going. I have urgent work in the United States. My passport is ready, and my passage booked. I made all the necessary arrangements for my return journey. How do you mean I am not going? Bh. (still chuckling) You will never go, because you never came. It was only the car, the ship, the train, etc., that moved. You did absolutely nothing but sit all the time, till you found yourself here. Am. (with a sigh of relief ) Oh that! 3. THE PEDANT On a summer morning a middle-aged Tamilian entered and sat for about half an hour. His restlessness and rolling eyes suggested that he had something weighty on his mind. At last he spoke with an assumed humility, particularly as he chose to speak in English. Visitor. Swami, we ignorant people read so much, hoping to have an inkling of Truth, but, alas, the more we read the more Truth recedes from our ken. I have read all the Western philosophers from Descartes to Bertrand Russell – they are all useless. But our Rishis differ among themselves. Shankara says, “Go on repeating ‘I am Brahman’ and you become Brahman.” Madhvacharya says that the Soul is ever separated from Brahman. You say “Enquire ‘who am I’ and you will arrive.” Many other teachers gave many other solutions. Is this not puzzling? Which of you is right? V. (Having waited in vain for about five minutes, he resumed with a mildly raised tone) Swami, which way am I to go? Bh. (with a gentle wave of the hand) Go the way you came.
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4. THE MISSIONARY A few spick-and-span Europeans entered the Hall one morning, slightly bowed to Bhagavan and sat in the front row. Their leader was immediately recognised as a veteran Missionary, famous for his fiery preachings in YMCAs., Christian colleges, and public halls of towns and cities in India. One of the others was his private secretary. The preacher began with a question to set the ball rolling towards his pet theme. After some answers Bhagavan eventually referred him to the Self as the ultimate reality, without knowing the identity and motive of the questioner. That was excuse enough for the latter to fire a stream of quotations from the Christian scripture with his own interpretations on them. Fortunately, before he went very far, Major Chadwick who at that time usually meditated there, shouted a challenge from the other end of the Hall in a powerful stentorian voice, which took him completely by surprise and eventually made him think it wise to keep silent and soon afterwards leave the Hall with his party. 5. THE PHILOSOPHER April, 1943. A young man in his teens, with blushing cheeks and a very soft, timorous voice asked:– Youth. Swami, can I see God in this life? ...... Bhagavan. (gently smiling) First tell me who is the “I” in your question; who, what, and where God is, and what do you mean by “life”? The youth dropped his eyes and remained silent. An elderly man from the back rushed forward, produced a pencil, wrote a question on a piece of paper and handed it to the Maharshi. Bhagavan read it and smiled broadly. It was
32

a question on Time and Space. Bhagavan. May I know who is putting this question – Space, yourself, or Time? Visitor. Of course I. Bh. Do you know that I? V. (after a little hesitation) Leave the I-question to the philosophers and answer my question. Voice. What? Is Time or Space dearer to you than your own self? Bh. (seeing the visitor nonplussed) All these questions are superfluous. One thing you must bear in mind is that no question can be solved without Self-knowledge. On the realisation of the Self everything becomes clear and all problems are solved. 6. THE SCIENTIST A fortnight later a science student strolled in. Student. Science tells us that the atom is made of a nucleus in the centre, with electrons moving round it in the intervening space. Is the relation between God and the Perfect Man the same as these or different? I mean, although God and the Jnani are one unit, yet they preserve their separate identities. Bh. Who is the Perfect Man? Student. He who has perfected himself by sadhana. Bh. So you think yourself imperfect that you ask this question. Will it not then be better for you to perform sadhana and perfect yourself and then you will know what happens? Why bother now about a state which comes only after Perfection. The fact is that you are even now perfect and your supposed imperfection is only your own creation.
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even with regard to your own self? P. Yes. which see others. although addressed as ‘you’. What of yourself? P. the Self? If another man confirms your statement. Leave God alone for the present. Bh. Similarly you admit the certainty of your senses. Pole. You take your existence for granted. one cannot be sure of anything. By my senses. You see how you contradict yourself. Bh. which you call the Self. and so will a million. whilst denying all certainty. which owns the senses. even God cannot be proved with absolute certainty. Each man. I have read in your books that one should enquire into the nature of one’s ‘I’ in order to know the Truth. at the same time ask others to prove it to you. styles himself as 34 . What I wish to know is. then there is the probability of the Self. within which time he expected to be shown the Truth in the clearest possible manner.2nd April 1937 7. and seem to have experienced. Bh. The fact is that there are no others: there is no such a person as ‘you’. THE SCEPTIC A very busy Polish journalist came for a few hours this afternoon. From biological science I have my own answer to the question of my own identity. ‘My’ implies the ‘I’. You seek confirmation of yourself from others? How do you know that others exist? P. who are you. you who speak of. Bh. Have you no self yourself? Are you then in the region of probabilities. I want confirmation of the Self.

say. you admit.‘I’. in deep sleep. Progress and science are meant only for the perceiving mind. when what you call ‘Perfection’. For whom is the progress if the mind is absent. what becomes of progress and science? Bh. is Truth. from which the thinking mind sprouts. and into which it is ultimately dissolved. which is the Pure Intelligence. P. If you are right. realisation of the source of the mind. 35 . Even the confirmation you demand from others comes only from the ‘I’. is attained. that is. or in a swoon? The goal of all progress and science. ‘You’ and ‘they’ occur only to the ‘I’. This is what we call realisation of the Self. to which science aspires to lead. the substratum Consciousness. without which they are meaningless.

” you incessantly think. But when you pass from dreamful to dreamless sleep. like life. death. is a mere thought. you do not think any the lesser. This daily cycle of waking and sleeping is a miniature of the cycle of life and death in man and the universe. of alternation of activity and rest. Dust into Dust and under Dust to lie. your thoughts cease and you enjoy undisturbed peace. and when you go to sleep and dream.II LIFE. even the stoutest.” is not alone in taking man as the merest dust and the grave as his last destination. . Omar Khayyam who sang: “. Life and Rebirth. sans Singer and sans End. DEATH. thought-free state prevails for a brief period. To the Maharshi. form the subject-matter of the majority of the questions asked by visitors. and continues till a full “waking” takes place in a new body. till you wake again and resume your thinking and with it your restless. When death strikes down the body. When you are “awake. REBIRTH AND SUICIDE Death and. sans Song. Death is the greatest catastrophe men dread. Before we too into the Dust descend. but soon thinking starts again in the dream – “astral” – world. The horror of everlasting extinction grips and numbs all hearts. Sans Wine. after another dreamless lull. to a lesser degree. the dreamless. peace-less state. The substance of the former is thoughts and sensations and of the latter the peaceful being 36 . Life is miserable because it consists of nothing but thoughts. .

A Mysorean. How can the terrible fear of death be overcome? Bhagavan. To transcend birth and death we have. Why not then hold on to the pure awareness right now. you will find that that object is not the body. If you do not see these and remain your pure self. If you trace this fear to the object.from which these arise. sounds. while in the body and be free from all fear? 2. say. Many a man would be too glad to be rid of his diseased body and all the problems and inconvenience it creates for him if continued awareness were vouchsafed to him. the loss of which gives rise to it. no fear can touch you. which is their own Self.000-year intervals between death and rebirth. etc. A visitor asks Sri Maharshi: Visitor. 1937 1. It is the awareness. had read some Theosophical books and stayed here for some months trying to digest them. the consciousness. he fears to lose. or when you are under chloroform? It haunts you only when you are fully “awake” and perceive the world. Men love existence because it is eternal awareness. Mr. Theosophy speaks of 50 to 10. * * * * 4th January. smells. therefore. as in dreamless sleep. M. to transcend the processes of thought and abide in the eternal being. He wanted to know about rebirths. in dreamless sleep. and not the body. When does that fear seize you? Does it come when you do not see your body. Why is this so? 37 . M. but the mind which functions in it and through which the environment and the attractive world is known as sights. including your body.

which is inherent in all life. But the Jnani. when it remains worldless and therefore bodiless. a resident of Adyar. in the dream world a dream body. She wants to know the cause of the urge to live. is here on a three-day visit. G. But it must be distinctly understood that it is not the soul that comes and goes. till it is destroyed by Self-Realisation. thirst for rebirth? 38 . On whatever plane the mind happens to act. Mrs. It is the mind which creates and maintains the illusion of reality in this process. All such measurements are hypothetical. the SelfRealised man. but the thinking mind of the individual. the mind remains inactive for some time. Mrs. A Dutch lady. it creates a body for itself: in the physical world a physical body. as in dreamless sleep. – till it assumes another body in what is called a “rebirth”. But soon it becomes active again in a new world and a new body – the astral. What is the cause of tanha. It is now clear that there is neither real birth. The chain of illusions has snapped forever for him. whose mind has already ceased to act. which becomes wet with dream rain and sick with dream diseases. remains unaffected by death: it has dropped never to rise again to cause births and deaths. * * * * 12th April. There is no relation between the standard of measurements of one state of consciousness and another. known in the Pali scriptures by the name of Tanha. After the death of the physical body. Gonggrijp. nor real death. 1937 3. thirst for life. It is true that some individuals take more time and some less.Bh. which makes it appear to do so.

whereas the Self can exist without the body. by false identification with its destructible instrument. hence it tries to perpetuate that instrument. Find out first who it is that is born. the body cannot exist without the Self. Mr. Mr. 39 . The stone which is projected upwards remains in constant motion. Thirst for life is inherent in the very nature of life. the body. Let him who takes birth ask this question. which is Absolute Existence – Sat. and rests. G’s mind. a body is always available. C. Real rebirth is dying from the ego into the Spirit. which alone eternally exists. P. till the pre-headache state is regained. But however long these bodies may last. whether in this or in any other one. Yes. which is an illusion of the mind. as she has just heard that a human being may take an animal birth in some other life. Give up the false identification and. till the body-sense disappears by merging into the Source – the Spirit. Bh. consciousness imbibes a false apprehension of its destructibility. in fact it is always without it. or Self. the earth. and whether there are actual birth and death. remember. A doubt has just now arisen in Mrs. which is contrary to what Theosophy has taught her. which results in a succession of births. This is the significance of the crucifixion of Jesus. Headache continues to give trouble. Bh.” says the “Voice of the Silence” of H. Although indestructible by nature. These are only of the ego. Whenever identification with the body exists. C.Bh. “Give up thy life if thou wouldst live. they eventually come to an end and yield to the Self. till it returns to its source. Blavatsky.

By that I want to know whether there has been any difference in Bhagavan’s spiritual outlook between the day he left Madura and now. B. B. None at all: the same experience has prevailed throughout without change. All that we call Faith etc. before then is variable and untrue. What made Bhagavan come to Arunachala? Bh. Faith and Grace are obtainable only on the Realisation of the Self. are all your nature. Faith. All thoughts are sorrowful. Then where was the need for Bhagavan to write hymns in praise of Arunachala? Was that for him or for us? 40 . which shook his faith in the Maharshi and in God’s grace. B. B. because thoughts take one’s attention away from the Self. Yes. Bh. which is undiluted Happiness. If so. Mr. is a keen devotee of Sri Bhagavan. What is Faith? Bh. B. Quite so. A few days ago he lost his only son.5th May. Is sorrow a thought? Bh. Bh. Love. For some days he went on strike by staying away from the Ashram. Grace. After receiving some answers he was satisfied. Even pleasurable thoughts must be also sorrowful.. but today he came in “to have it out” with Sri Bhagavan with a long list of questions which he had prepared. the Self. Mr. 1943 4. B. Bh. What made you all come? B. B.

Future!. I know that I exist now. L. One of them had recently lost her husband in an air crash. What is Death? Bh. the Future. At this stage a visitor interrupted by asking whether suicide was a wrong act. It depends on how you look at it. and tomorrow. Do you know what birth is? L. 1948 5. the Past. today is the result of yesterday. and not on the body. * * * * 3rd September. O yes..Bh.. the innocent. Present!. which is insentient and feels nothing. Bh. The mind is the real culprit. Materially speaking Life is the body.. where the suffering is deposited.. being the creator of the anguish which tempts to suicide. Yes.. I do not know why I wrote them. spiritually speaking it is the Ultimate Consciousness. Is there rebirth? Bh.. Bh. but by an error of judgement. What is Life? Bh. will be the result of today. insentient body is punished for it. She asked Sri Bhagavan: Lady. B. Am I right? 41 . Past!. the Present. It might have been for others. but I want to know if I’ll exist in the future. It is oblivion of one’s real nature.. B. Killing the innocent body is certainly wrong. Three Anglo-Indian lady-doctors came from Bangalore.. Suicide must be committed on the mind..

prostrated to Sri Bhagavan and sat in the front line. Consciousness. Have you no worries of your own? V. which take place in time and space cannot be other than imagination. it is a mystery. He asked in excellent English: Visitor. 1949 6. but do you for that reason cease to exist? V. There is neither Past nor Future. Do you always see the body? What happens to it and to the universe when you go to sleep? V. What is the cause and origin of the universe? Bh. Therefore experience takes place only in the present. etc. that is why I want to know about Life. Death. and tomorrow will be also the present when you will experience it. etc. Begin with the beginning: who has Life. therefore birth and rebirth. even the Present is mere imagination. Consciousness. Bh. and beyond experience nothing exists. Of course I have. Yes.Bh. You may not know what happens to them. I don’t know. for instance. life? V. Bh. L. Bh. There is only the Present. Are then Past and Future mere imagination? Bh.? Have you. I don’t know. for I see my body. Space is similarly mental. for the sense of time is purely mental. * * * * 22nd February. A well-educated North Indian came forward. Of course I know I am alive. 42 . Yesterday was the present to you when you experienced it.

eternal existence. the permanent. sees subject and object. free from ignorance and thought-illusion. While the pictures appear on it. will become clear. which has all along been present. Shapes and phenomena pass away. like the screen on which all the cinematographic pictures move. A few days later Sri Bhagavan gave a different answer to a similar question asked by Dr. am ever present and only my ego changes? Bh. Bh. sleeps. So you think you are two persons: the permanent ‘I’ and the ego. humans. Then please show me the way to the Real. Stop the pictures. wakes up. it remains invisible. pure in itself. But you see your body also moving and thinking and being in all sorts of places while it is actually lying fast asleep in Tiruvannamalai. thoughts and events are merely pictures moving on the screen of Pure Consciousness. eats and thinks. and the ‘I’thought. The latter. which alone is real. But the pure ‘I’ is the pure Being.The Real is ever-present. Is that possible? V. being merely a thought. but Consciousness remains ever. objects. a French Medical Officer of the Suez Canal. Bh. V. in fact the only object that has existed throughout. the I-thought will disappear and the delusion will vanish 43 . dies and is reborn. your being alone. All these universes. and the screen. It is a mystery. He told the doctor: “You must distinguish between the ‘I’. without thought. How do you then know that you exist even now? V. Now I have awareness and see my body moving and thinking. Godel. Can I say that I.Bh. If you stay as the ‘I’.

In a cinema-show you can see pictures only in a very dim light or in darkness. No.forever.” Dr. all pictures disappear. G. Bh. But when all lights are switched on. and by whom? You alone exist. 44 . transcending what. That is the Transcendental State. So also in the floodlight of the Supreme Atman all objects disappear.

he goes on lamenting. All eyes turn to Sri Bhagavan for the answer. instead of stretching out his hand to satisfy his hunger. and goes on whining.” and still another “aunt” and so on. Creation is neither good nor bad.” another “sister. Men love women. Bhagavan. Is God so partial as to give peace to one person and sorrow to another? In creation there is room for everything. it is as it is. unconcerned with. Yet the tree continues to lead its quiet life. but one mind calls her “mother. the healthy and the beautiful. It is the human mind which puts all sorts of constructions on it. 1937 A book is being read in which a question occurs whether the world was created for happiness or misery. men cool themselves in its shade. A woman is just a woman. Creation is like a peepul tree: birds come to eat its fruit. and are indifferent to the grass and stones by the roadside. and unaware of. 45 . but man refuses to see the good. or take shelter under its branches.III HAPPINESS AND MISERY IN CREATION 4th May. as it sees things from its own angle and as it suits its own interests. These connections are the causes of all the misery in the world. like the hungry man who sits beside a tasty dish and. hate snakes. but some may hang themselves on it. It is the human mind that creates its own difficulties and then cries for help. all the uses it is put to.

never forsakes him. 46 .Whose fault is it. you will have to wait a very. yet we long for them. in His infinite mercy. He always gives him new chances by providing Gurus and Scriptures to guide him to find the errors of his ways and ultimately gain eternal happiness. What is the way of ending that longing? Bhagavan. Visitor. God. God’s or man’s? But fortunately for man. If you wait till all desires disappear to start your devotion and prayer. very long time indeed. Think of God and attachments will gradually drop from you. We know that the pleasures of this world are useless and even painful.

The former is single and free from karma. was why there was so much evil in the world. and why should evil-doers be more successful than gooddoers? If it were due to Karma. ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself ’ means that you should love him. one God’s and the other man’s. With much emotion he asked several searching questions. When seeing others you are only seeing yourself in their shapes. was infinitely gracious to him. there will be no varied individuals and no varied karmas. 1948 A visitor from the North seemed to be extremely agitated. the others see only hell. Why is this so? Because the Self is one in all. If man removes his own creation. misery will thus disappear. He who kills man’s creation sees heaven only. which become the cause of so much misery and turmoil? Sri Bhagavan. who made that Karma. He answered all his questions pithily and with amazing clarity. one of which.IV KARMA 15th August. About karma he said: “Whose karma is it? There are two creations. The latter is varied and has varied karmas. and why should it be so arbitrarily dispensed – various karma to various individuals. realising the agony of the questioner’s heart. “It is every intelligent man’s experience that evil-doing recoils on the doer sooner or later.” 47 . because he is your Self.

1936 2. UNPREMEDITATED ACTION 19th June. there is the sense of enjoyment and of individual will. asks where the will is located in the sheaths of the jiva. Manomayakosha is that of thoughts and sense-perceptions – of subject and object: and vijnanamayakosha is the sheath of the ‘I’-sense. will act and guide the course of events. in the vijnanamayakosha. Mr C. The Will is the purposive force of the ‘I’. Bh. Pranamayakosha is the sheath of the life and sense. which determines and impels an act. Fate is overcome by Jnana. It is thus inherent in the ‘I’. Whose will is it? So long as there is the sense of doership. A visitor wanted to know if there was such a thing as Free-Will. namely. Annamayakosha is the physical sheath. In which sheath is it located? It must be where the ‘I’-sense is. the Divine will.V FREE-WILL. But if this sense is lost through the practice of vichara. Self-knowledge. Bh. 1936 1. It is really unnecessary to go into all this detail. where the self-conscious individual wills and determines. What we 48 . which is beyond Will and Fate. * * * * 9th November.

one of the Master’s attendants. Bh. He asked: “How should a seeker work?” Bh.should be concerned with is the true nature of the ‘I’. For instance. I 49 . * * * * 10th February. No. Now you see how you came without previous planning. which is the pivot of all these sheaths and worlds. when you started on a journey from Paris did you include this place in your itinerary? Dr. and he immediately left for his village. was for some reason dismissed from service. In this connection it is relevant to record here a single instance of how the Divine Will automatically acted to the benefit of a devotee through an unpremeditated action. * * * * 19th May. and that the purpose of one’s birth will be fulfilled whether one wills it or not. about a month ago. About a month ago Shiva. that is he should work without motive or a hard-cast plan. A French Doctor of Philosophy came for the day. Last night he returned and related the following story to Sri Bhagavan in our presence. It is therefore wise to allow the purpose to be fulfilled by itself. The Gita says that no one can remain inactive. He said:– “As I detrained at the railway station of my village on the next day of my leaving the Ashram. 1944 4. Without taking himself to be the actor. 1936 3. The true ‘I’ is the Supreme Reality.

my father. Your father is dying and wants to see you badly. seeing me. who had not been opening his eyes or talking.” 50 . Seeing me. you have come. suddenly opened them and.’ I was stunned and realised that I had been dismissed from service so that I might be there in time. santosham (I am happy). I was just going to send you this telegram.saw a relation of mine there.’ After an hour he breathed his last. he came running and shouted: ‘Hello. smiled and said: ‘At last you have come. When I entered my home.

that is. If God is apart from the Self. J. If you objectify and see a universe. but if you mean the pure Self. Although the sparks rise from the flame. then you are bound to see many things beside yourself and postulate a God. non-existent. Mrs. the creator. That which comes and goes. Madras. they fall away from it into space. never changes and is devoid of qualities is the Self. is born and dies is the ego. which is the cause of so much discord between nations. God and world rise and set together from. outside existence. Mrs. Body. J. Jinarajadasa. Mrs. What is the difference between the ego and the Self? Bh. D. Bh. then there is a creator. and into. then there is nothing but It. I suppose one has to sublimate the ego-self into the true Self.VI EGO 17th February. rises and sets. 51 . J. Can I say that God is the Flame and we are the sparks? Bh. Mrs. that is. then He would be Self-less. That which always abides. J. If by “ourselves” you mean your body. Mrs. the Self. wanted to go to the root of the human ego. But is there a God apart from ourselves? Naturally there must be a creator to this universe. 1937 1. wife of the late President of the Theosophical Society and resident of Adyar. families and individuals. whereas we are never outside God.

and the apparent ego and ignorance will disappear. alone remains. but of realising the non-existence of ignorance. which is the negation of ignorance. father of Natesan. Mrs. meditation and all spiritual practices are not performed with the object of realising the Self. Every man admits his own existence and does not need a mirror to prove it to him.Bh. that. stripped of qualities and superimpositions. Then why does a man suffer? Because he imagines himself other than what he in reality is. Enquire into yourself. J. When the ego disappears through constant enquiry into its nature. indivisible whole. You are a single. and the other – “I am Gopal. otherwise you would be two instead of one – you the ego and you the Self. shapes and colours in dreamless sleep? Yet he does not deny that he is then himself existing even without a body. Why then do we need to concentrate? Bh. He must hold on to that existence. that lone being – Kaivalya – 52 . and the Self.” etc. It is dreadful even to oneself. Existence is awareness. because the Self is ever-present. The ego-self does not exist at all. J. Mrs. Concentration. e. Bh. son of Parashuram. their source. Pain and pleasure are to the ego. But how did the ego arise? Bh. Then why does it give so much trouble? Look at the havoc it has created among nations and people. To whom is the trouble? The trouble also is imagined. There is neither ego nor ignorance in Reality. Does he see his body and all these qualities. Ego is non-existent.g. this.. of names and forms. In reality he is the intelligent “I-am” alone. J. Mrs. which is itself imagined. the body. the illusion of pleasure and pain also disappears.

qualities. it continues to rise again and again due to prarabdha. time. The man of wisdom simply is. but cannot. 1936 2. Take the case of the bhakta. We are ever in sushupti. * * * * A visitor asked “If the ego or ‘I’ be an illusion who then casts off the illusion?” Bh. which is God the Absolute. it simply vanished. What has happened to the ‘I’. This appears to be a paradox to you: it is not so to the Jnani. all concepts and precepts whatever. but with this difference: whereas the Jnani’s enjoys the transcendental experience. His ‘I’ prays to the Lord to unite it with Him. The Jnani. colours. The ‘I’ casts off the illusion of ‘I’ and yet remains as ‘I’. which is its surrender. which is the universe of forms. * * * * 18th November. attention) always fixed on its 53 . “I-Am-That-I-Am” sums up the whole Truth. Paramatman Himself. Becoming aware of it in jagrat is samadhi. although he has scotched the ego. The ajnani cannot remain long in sushupti because his ego pushes him out of it. The method is summed up by “Be still and know that I am God. for both the Jnani and the ajnani the ego springs up. why? Bh. keeping its lakshya (aim. Visitor. is the eternal ‘I’. What remains as residuum after this surrender. Sushupti is so peaceful that one would love to stay as long as possible in it.even when he is in the waking state. which originally prayed? Being unreal. space.” What does stillness mean? Cessation of thinking. So.

which requires location for its existence and light to make it perceptible. like a burnt up rope. 1943 3. so also the world pictures are perceptible only by the light of the Self reflected in the darkness of avidya (ignorance). but that both of them are one and the same chit. being a mere skeleton of its normal self. By constantly fixing its attention on the Source. Just as cinematographic pictures can be made visible by a reflected light. What is that surface? Bh. that of the ajnani is completely ignorant of it. There is the world. Therefore physical existence and perception depend upon the light of the mind which is reflected from the Self. Venkataramiah (later Swami Ramananda Saraswati) asked whether the light which gives the “Aham” – ‘I’-sense – identity and knowledge (of the world) is ignorance or chit (Pure Consciousness). nor in the utter light of the Self. The world can be seen neither in the utter darkness of ignorance.source. * * * * 14th March. The former is not harmful. and only in darkness. For reflection there must be a surface on which the reflection takes place. Sri Bhagavan replied:– Bh. the Heart. as in Self-realisation or samadhi. It is only the reflected light of chit that makes the ‘I’ believe itself different from others and create the objects. On realisation of the Self you will find that the reflection and the surface on which it takes place do not actually exist. as in deep sleep. 54 . the ego gets dissolved into it like a salt doll which has fallen into the ocean. Ella Maillart. Professor M. Both rise simultaneously.

55 . but goes straight to the Source from which they all rise. the names and functions of which the student is asked to commit to memory. 1937 A highly learned visitor whose chief interest was man and his constitution. God. the antahkarana is said to think. Why worry about his bodies. Bh. his buddhi. etc. Where do all these concepts end? Why should confusion be created and then explained away? Fortunate is the man who does not lose himself in the labyrinths of philosophy.VII DANGER OF PHILOSOPHY 10th April. wanted Sri Bhagavan to explain from experience man’s various bodies. To understand anything there must needs be the understanding being. (after a brief explanation added) The intricate maze of philosophy of different schools claims to clarify matters and reveal the Truth. or all these pranas? Do they really exist? They are all conceptual divisions invented by teachers of philosophy by their excessive analysis. Why all these details? Has anyone seen the antahkarana. for instance: it speaks of the fifteen pranas. to will. etc. his koshas and their functions. his ahankar. creation. world – the not-Self – at all? Why not remain yourself and be in peace? Take Vedanta. to desire. his atma-buddhi-manas. Mahatmas. to reason. but in fact they create confusion where no confusion need exist. Will it not be sufficient if he is taught that only one prana does the whole work of maintaining life in the body? Again.

V. due to its ignorance of this fact. and acts on its own initiatives and by its own will. or at least to show their surrender.VIII SURRENDER Visitor. motives and decisions. with which it is impossible to dispense. The ego submits when it recognises the higher authority of the Atman. I suppose. when it automatically disappears. what He sees in the worshipper is how much of the ego remains in full control and how much is on the verge of self-destruction. the Heart. it remains rebellious. What is self-surrender? Bh. V. True surrender is the melting of the ego in its Source. striking thereby at its root. This is the beginning of surrender. God is not deceived by physical genuflections. Habits create the false notion that thinking is a permanent institution. Bh. None succeeds without effort and the successful few owe their victory to perseverance. 56 . It is the same as mind-control. but enquiry and discrimination will blast this fallacy. How can the rebellious ego be subjugated? Bh. People prostrate before God or the Guru to prove. yet. Either by seeking its source. or by deliberately surrendering all its actions. Although the ego cannot exist without the Self.

meditation.IX MAYA Of all the aspects of Advaita philosophy that of Maya is the most difficult to understand. the last of which was the Ramakrishna Mutt in Madras. In the meantime considerable misunderstanding is created by explanations – the more it is explained. She had come to India “in search of Truth.” and had visited many yogis and Ashrams. But Sri Bhagavan’s explanations are superb. but my soul. We talked as usual on yoga. clutched her throat. but when I mentioned the word “maya”. no human beings. She.. They told me that nothing exists: no world. still more to explain. did they want to kill you? They are sannyasis. and nothing but experience can explain it satisfactorily. Some interpret it as ignorance. others as dream. etc. others still as illusion. and that I cannot kill the illusion till I surrender myself. Not my body. as will be seen from the following dialogues. nothing. Where will I be without my soul and mind? I had no alternative but to change the subject. “those people of Ramakrishna Mission were about to destroy me. 1937 . no trees. but God came to my rescue and I escaped. * * 57 * * 15th April. In one of the Ashrams I visited in 1939 I met a Canadian lady.” she whispered. How do you mean. the more obscure it becomes. she gasped. and dropped her voice: “Don’t say it. all my own imagination.” I. nothing – all is illusion.

seeing another jiva.. They speak of prophets. 58 . which causes illusion – mind you. falsehood spring up? Bh. the formless. C. etc. etc. wanted to know the mystery of this gigantic world illusion. C. he who projected the illusion gave it the appearance of order and sound planning. But how out of Truth does illusion. it is only in the mind. C. Are they all illusion? Bh. which they name God. But the moment it turns its attention on its own nature as consciousness. Yes. Bhagavan. C. so they are. which proves it to be well-planned and well-regulated. the illusion of diversity or separateness breaks as a dream breaks when waking takes place. scriptures. all this variety is in consciousness and nowhere else. forgets its identity with it and thinks of it as separate from itself. yet everything in it follows rigid laws. They all exist in the same way as you. but the moment one wakes up they all disappear. One jiva. You are in the relative world. scriptures. although it has the appearance of it. the questioner. Maya is not falsehood. So also waking from this dream world into the Supreme Consciousness causes them all to disappear. We speak of the world as illusion. but the active side of Reality. Mr.1. All spiritual institutions except the Advaitic give prominence to the creative aspect of Reality. It is the maker of forms in Consciousness and form means variety. and not as form. C. or else you would not have known of them. giving rise to forms. exist. saints. In dreams one also sees a well-regulated world with saints. It is hard to conceive God.

so does the Divine Intelligence devise and plan and His Energy automatically and spontaneously acts – the thought and the act are one integral whole. is a frequent visitor. * * * * 14th June. say. Whenever he comes he discusses ancient Vedantic books with the Master. Similarly the illusion 59 . To satisfy the dream hunger. He dreams of being hungry in spite of the jagrat food in his stomach. Why hard? Does not your mind remain formless when you do not perceive or think. he has to take dream food. This Creative Energy which is implicit in Pure Intelligence is called by various names. or in a swoon? And does it not create space and relationship when it thinks and impels your body to act? Just as your mind devises and your body executes in one homogeneous. it could be of no use to him in the dream state. For example. A great king once dreamt that he was ill but was too poor to call a doctor. in deep sleep. Although he had fabulous wealth in the waking state. a man takes a full meal and goes to sleep. so automatic. the late Professor of English. that most people are not aware of the process. in samadhi.Bh. Sri Bhagavan explains: “Every plane has its own illusion. Maya comes up in the middle and claims attention. in fact. Subbaramayyah. A wound in dream requires dream treatment. which can be destroyed only by another illusion on the same plane. the Creator of forms or images. Mr. 1948 2. automatic act. one of which is maya or shakti. He had to beg the doctor’s fees from his friends to receive medical help. Today’s talk is about Kaivalyam.

although one cannot see them. Is there any genuine difference between the experience of jagrat and that of dreams? 60 . simply because the Self cannot be objectified.of ajnana (ignorance) can be destroyed only by the illusion of guru-upadesa (the Master’s teaching). any more than one denies one’s eyes. A visitor remarks that it is cruel of God’s leela to make the knowledge of the Self so hard.” * * * * 16th February. Where then is God’s leela and where its cruelty? It is because of this denial of the Self by people that the Shastras speak of maya. Mukti (liberation) is ever-present and bondage ever-absent. and being means existence – one’s own existence. * * * * 15th April. V. You are the Self. You have been so accustomed to objectivity that you lost the knowledge of yourself. ‘I’. Bh. leela. yet you ask how to know the Self. yet when questioned you deny knowledge of it. Who is to know the self? Can the insentient body know it? All the time you speak and think of your ‘I’. 1937 4. etc. A frequent visitor to the Ashram is cogitating over the problem of Maya and its relation to the waking and dream states. The trouble lies with your desire to objectify the Self. in the same way as you objectify your eyes when you place a mirror before them.Knowing the Self is being the Self. (laughing) . which no one denies. 1937 3. ‘I’. yet the universal experience is the reverse.

Bh. why do you not do so to jagrat also? V. There is this difference: each time we return to jagrat. etc. He said: “I transcend the three worlds . Arjuna saw the Divine Form of Sri Krishna. as they appear now to you in jagrat.” Does time have a form? If the universe is His form. whereas actually there is not the slightest difference between the nature of the two states.” yet Arjuna saw these in Him. . we come to the same place. Sri Krishna started the discourse in Chapter II of the Bhagavad Gita with: “I have no form. but in Chapter XI. Where is the difference? If you call the dream illusion. though not so to the dreamer himself.Bh. same people.. hence he calls it transitory. except that jagrat appears to be more enduring than the other to the person who is in jagrat. . C. without noticing any incongruity in it? The dream is as real then to you as jagrat is now. He being the Changeless One? The solution to these apparent 61 . should it not be uniform and changeless.. The person in jagrat relates his dream to have sometimes covered hundreds of years. same activities and interests. None. . But each time you go to the dream world do you feel being a stranger in it? Do you not feel thoroughly at home with the people and places as you do here? Don’t you sometimes dream of being a minister.” etc. This is because things move very rapidly in dreams. Again Sri Krishna said: “I am Time. Was that vision true? Bh. or meeting your father who had died in jagrat long ago. which is not the case with going to the svapna state. or seeing God seated on a throne.

He did not stop at the second. Hence Maya and Reality are one and the same.contradictions lies in His statement to Arjuna: “See in Me all you desire to see. yet paint them differently with the seer himself in the scene. which you condemn as tricks and jugglery. 1937 5. Even hypnotists can make one see strange scenes and phenomena. . He said that (1) Brahman is real. because the third explains the other two. It signifies that the universe is real if perceived as the Self.” which means that His form varies according to the desires and conceptions of the seer. (2) The universe is unreal. 62 . THIS IS THE TRUTH. . How can that be? Bh. and (3) Brahman is the universe. * * * * 4th January. Why is this difference? The fact is that all sights are unreal. Men speak of divine visions. whether they come from the senses or the mind as pure concepts. whereas the former you extol as Divine. Shankara was criticised for his views on Maya without understanding him. and unreal if perceived apart from the Self. A disciple remarks that Sri Bhagavan often says that maya and Reality are the same. .

63 . * * * * June. which had. and so I beg of him to enlighten me. But after many years of deep thinking I have now come to the conclusion that a guide is absolutely essential on the difficult path which leads to spiritual liberation. throughout the centuries. which completely dispenses with gurus. 1937 Visitor. The forces it released and the spirit of rebellion it disseminated everywhere had such extremely wide repercussions that its influence stamped itself on most of the new world literature. I have been following a certain school of thought. produced spiritual giants who led millions “from the unreal to the Real and from death to Immortality. I take Bhagavan to have reached the Highest.X GURU The rise of a new political ideology in the West after the first World War made men intolerant of all authority. The truly-seeking minds were thus caught between the spirit of the new age and that of the venerable traditions and scriptures. who became the Messiahs of the new age.” It is small wonder then that bewildered. It invaded even the spiritual sphere and coloured the views of the rising generation of preachers. truthhungry men should anxiously visit the Maharshi and seek his advice on the need or otherwise of a guru. earnest.

D. D. or Guru appears as a man to dispel the ignorance of man. which means that every object in this world was his guru. water.. 1945 2. Guru is absolutely necessary. So there must be a guru. But did I not sing hymns to Arunachala? What is a guru? Guru is God or the Self. etc. Bh. * * * * 30th October. All depends on what you call guru. Dattatreya had twenty-four gurus: the five elements – earth. I mean a human guru – the Maharshi did not have one.Bh. Thayumanavar says that God. First a man prays to God to fulfil his desires. Some people reported you to have said that there was no need for a guru. 64 . the Self. I might have had one at one time or other. just as a deer is used as a decoy to capture a wild deer. Self. Sri Dilip Kumar Roy of Sri Aurobindo Ashram this morning sang in the presence of Maharshi in the Hall and in the evening asked the following questions: Dilip. All scriptures recommend spiritual teachers. The guru is none other than the goal men seek. Others gave the opposite report. As the seeker’s mind is bent outward. The Upanishads say that none but a guru can take a man out of the jungle of intellect and senseperceptions. He need not be in a human form. What does Maharshi say? Bh. Sri Aurobindo and others refer to you as having had no guru. the Self takes a human shape as a guru to help driving it inward. He has to appear in a body in order to dispel the “I-am-the-body” notion of the seeker. Bh. I have never said that there is no need for a guru.

for he who comes will also go. Mme. is impermanent. then they are not real. that is. Once the pupil experiences the Truth and breaks the body illusion. the Supreme Consciousness. How many miles are you far from it? Do you deny your existence? If not. he realises the Masters to be the same as himself. J. If there are Masters outside the Self. namely. The fact is Self. the Self ? 65 . Mrs. to guide him to Himself in answer to his prayer and according to his needs. Jinarajadasa. Masters do exist externally as long as the pupil feels himself to be the body. Besant’s time we used to spend such a lot of time meditating on the Masters. how can you deny Reality. In Mrs. Master and God are one and the same. Are Masters really useful? Bh. Krishnamurti: Mrs. de Rathonyi. or Self. Oh! We are far from this truth! Bh.A time comes when he will no more pray for the fulfilment of material desires but for God Himself. As such they are useful to teach him the truth about himself. which is pure existence. being external additions. human or non-human. * * * * 19th February. God then appears to him in some form or other. an old Theosophist and later a follower of Sri J. 1937 3.

whatever the method. the attempt to still the thinking faculty. if doggedly practised. in order that the calm ocean of pure awareness. may be experienced. and later of his disciples. To hear it direct from him this “Self-knowledge”. preoccupying the mind with a single theme to the exclusion of all others.XI MEDITATION Meditation means many things to many individuals and ranges from quiet brooding on a concept or an ideal to the beatitude of the highest spiritual contemplation. even apart from the psychological efficacy of the vichara proper. if we are not aware of it. but. is “the easiest thing there is” (Atma Vidya). will not fail to produce beneficial 66 . the obstruction to that awareness should be removed by investigation – vichara – which is as logical as it is simple. The Master’s obvious meaning seems to be that. the perpetually-surging waves of the mind. there appears to be the need for much spade work before its central idea takes a firm hold on the seeker. To beginners this mind control appears to be a formidable feat. yet the Master encourages them to go ahead and practise – at all events to make a beginning. judging from the questions constantly asked of him. He constantly dins into us the inspiring notion that we are already Selfrealised and that. from which they rise and on which they move. rather the way to Self-knowledge. But in the sadhana propounded by the Maharshi it strictly means.

Even if the meditator takes his body as a whole and confers on it his name. Stability and fixity of the restless. controlled mind. 67 . which by itself is a splendid achievement. The next idea in the vichara seems to be that wherever. and thus render the mind amenable to concentration on the supremely important work which is to follow. Krishna or Peter. is essential for a successful meditation (vide p. or through intense fervour. for no part of it is intelligent enough to stand the test of analysis or answer the call. Thus diligent search and keen observation eventually lead to the mind as the perceiver. Some sadhakas are fortunate enough to begin with a mind already accustomed to concentration. For the Master tells us that mental calmness. without much strain. or by training. and this can be achieved by constant practice and by frequently pulling oneself back to the subject of the meditation whenever the mind strays away. it will be time to think of the answer. one will certainly not find it in the physical body. mercurial mind is the first aim. for the mind cognises naught but its own ideas. and for however long. desirer and enjoyer of a world which is entirely its own thoughts. and thus make a more or less rapid progress. 94). according to the intensity of their determination. which means of depth. that is. sooner or later he will discover that it is only his mind which is responsible for this as well as all other thoughts and sensations. When the mind has attained an appreciable degree of concentration. Finding the answer to the query “Who am I?” is not the immediate burden of the practice in the beginning.results. say. one may search for the answer in meditation. so that they are able to go straight to the application of the vichara. It will tend to reduce the oscillations of the thinking processes. either “naturally”.

having nothing to disturb or preoccupy him.” And what is that Self in actual experience? Sri Bhagavan tells us that it is the Light which ever shines in the Cave of the Heart as the flame of the Consciousness ‘I’ ‘I’ – the eternal and blissful Sat-chit-ananda. spontaneously finds himself in his pure Being. this time no longer into the insentient body. refers to the most vital stage of the vichara. when all of a sudden all thoughts completely cease. from which he has discovered the ‘I’ thought to have arisen. The ‘I’. but into the very nature of the mind. the immaculate Being. which is eternally wrapped in blissful stillness. has at long last found itself to be not other than the Pure Mind. which can no longer be abandoned or even slackened. eagerly-lookedforward-to performance.The final idea. which has carried out a determined and protracted search into its own nature. Then the seer abides in himself. which is the Absolute State or Substratum. the restlessness of the mind. Profound peace and inner joy impel more frequent and longer meditation. This is Turiya. the ‘I’. naturally. This is what the second and third sutras of Patanjali’s yoga mean by saying: “Yoga is the suppression of the vritti (modifications of the thinking principle). which in turn reduces thinking still further. till the moment of full maturity is reached. There remains nothing more for one to achieve but to consolidate this state 68 . and the meditator. when the foregoing fact has become a settled conviction and the seeker unabatingly continues his inquiry. one gathers. The thinking processes have by now considerably slowed down and with it. Meditation has by then taken a firm grip and has turned from an erstwhile painful and apparently fruitless effort to a joyful. the Fourth. or Samadhi. This is the answer to the vichara and its fulfilment.

* * * * 16th May. C. C. because the Reality itself is pure awareness. but unfortunately there was no one to give him proper guidance till he met Sri Bhagavan early in 1936. I suppose efforts have to be made in the waking state. All yogas aim at the cessation of the vritti (modification of the mind). that of Supreme Enlightenment. which frees consciousness from all thoughts and keeps it pure. This can be brought about in the variety of ways mentioned in the scriptures through mind control. which implies that moksha can be gained only in jagrat. Also mukti has to be gained in full awareness. Patanjali’s first sutras are indeed the climax of all systems of yoga. Sadhakas take courage from the personal assurance of Sri Maharshi and the testimony of those who have found the Ultimate Peace. Mr. which is the Great Liberation. 69 . 1936 1. otherwise who is to make the effort? You cannot make it in sleep or under the influence of drugs. Bh. The first few sutras had convinced him of the truth of the teaching. C. There seems to be nothing but awareness. for to know anything there must be knowledge – we cannot get over that. Effort is necessary. and relentlessly continue their efforts however sterile these may at first appear to be. In fact effort is itself yoga. strong in the belief of the descent of the Divine Grace on their endeavour to crown them with the greatest of all crowns. relates how the reading of Patanjali Sutras in 1926 had greatly impressed him.into the permanent experience of Sahaja Nirvikalpa. Bh. awareness is necessary for mind control. Quite so.

Can you find it without light. consciousness. the object as the known and the knowledge which connects them. This last is not clear to me in this case. the object. but without strain – soon you will succeed. if I persist. Bh. * * 70 * * . If concentration is made with the brain. What is the remedy? Bh. I feel great heat in the head and. 1936 2. Visitor. but the latter advised him to place his difficulties before the Master. the seer of Patanjali. my whole body burns. Certainly. * * * * 18th June. Bhagavan. whenever I meditate. Keep your mind steady by gently warding off all intruding thoughts. C. Suppose you go in search of a book in a library in pitch darkness. which is cool and refreshing. the subject. Why so? Knowledge is the light which links the seer to the seen. Relax and your meditation will be easy. are both present? Light has to be present to unite you. which he did today. Concentration has to be made in the heart. although you. It is then the subject as the knower. This link between the subject and the object in every experience is chit. It is both the substratum as well as the witness of the experience.Bh. A retired District Superintendent of Police started thinking of the life contemplative after his 60th birthday. and the book. He found meditation a serious affair and approached a disciple for guidance. sensations of heat and even headache ensue. Subjective knowledge – knowledge knowing itself is jnana.

1st July, 1936 3. A devotee, long before he got attached to this Ashram, used off and on to fall into a sort of trance in which he saw not the Self but a sky-like blank, and told Sri Bhagavan about it. Bh. He who sees the blank is the Self. D. Meditation is possible only with control of mind, which can be achieved only through meditation. Is this not a vicious circle? Bh. They are interdependent: in fact meditation includes mind control, the subtle watchfulness against intruding thoughts. In the beginning efforts for control are greater than for actual meditation, but in due course, meditation wins and becomes effortless. D. Your Grace is needed for it. Bh. Practice is necessary, there is Grace. D. In meditation are there words to be repeated mentally? Bh. What is meditation but mental repetitions of a concept? It is a mental japam, which begins with words and ends in the silence of the Self. * * * *

A visitor is experiencing great difficulty in meditation when he fights with what he imagines to be his ego. He went to the Master for verification. V. In my meditation I try to eliminate the wrong ‘I’, but so far without success. Bh. How can ‘I’ eliminate itself? All you have to do is to find its source and abide in it as your real Self. Your efforts can extend thus far, the Beyond will take care of itself.
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V. Bhagavan, you always say that the Self is ever present: if I am present then why do I not feel it? Bh. Do you not now feel that you exist? Your doubt is whether you will ever continue to exist. Why should you have any doubt? A little thinking will convince you that the destructible part of your being, the body, is a mere machine, a tool in the service of the indestructible, the mind, which is the all-in-all, the knower and the master – you yourself. Your doubts and difficulties arise from your thoughts, which perceive the body and mistake it for yourself. Stop the thoughts, which are your enemy (the ego), and the mind will remain as your pure being, the immortal ‘I’. That is the best way of eliminating the ego. * * * * 2nd January, 1937 5. Visitor. I am taught that Mantra Japam is very potent in practice. Bh. The Self is the greatest of all mantras and goes on automatically and eternally. If you are not aware of this internal mantra, you should take to do it consciously as japam, which is attended with effort, to ward off all other thoughts. By constant attention to it, you will eventually become aware of the internal mantra, which is the state of Realisation and is effortless. Firmness in this awareness will keep you continually and effortlessly in the current, however much you may be engaged on other activities. Listening to Veda chanting and mantras has the same result as conscious repetitions of japam – its rhythm is the japam. * *
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5th July, 1936 6. Visitor. How to prevent falling asleep in meditation? Bh. If you try to prevent sleep it will mean thinking in meditation, which must be avoided. But if you slip into sleep while meditating, the meditation will continue even during and after sleep. Yet, being a thought, sleep must be got rid of, for the native state has to be obtained consciously in jagrat (the waking state) without the disturbing thoughts. Waking and sleeping are mere pictures the screen of the native, thought-free state. Let them pass unnoticed. * * * * 27th July, 1942 7. A Chief Engineer of Railways from North India stayed in the Ashram for over a month to have a first hand guidance in meditation. Eng. I am a beginner in meditation. I pray Bhagavan to guide me. You exhort us to go on enquiring “Who am I?” May I know where it will lead me? Bh. It is not mere asking; you must go into the meaning of it. Many meditate on certain centres in the body till they merge in them, but sooner or later they will have to enquire into their own nature, which is unavoidable. Then why not straightaway concentrate on yourself till you merge in its source? E. Yes, for twenty years I have been concentrating on certain chakras and have been seeing things and hearing sounds, but I got nowhere nearer the Truth. Now shall I go on asking “Who am I?” as soon as a thought arises in my mind?
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. There lies the true value of the vichara and its efficacy in mind control. So long as you are not disturbed by outside thoughts dwell on its meaning. and dissect it – who and what it is – giving thereby no chance to other thoughts to distract one. You do not need to prevent other thoughts. The aim is to reach the root of the ‘I’-sense... * * * * 10th November. all other thoughts rush out spontaneously. through constant suppression of the mental processes. As far as I can see it.. deep sleep may also be deemed to be an undifferentiated dhyana. It must be so intense as not to give room even to the thought “I am meditating”. As waking and dream states will thus be fully occupied by it. What is the difference between sushumna nadi and atma nadi? 74 . The best meditation is that which continues in all the three states. Not exactly. V. A visitor asked: V.. because the ‘I’-thought is absent. 1937 9. Quite so. the ‘I’-thought. it is impossible to realise the Self until one has completely succeeded in preventing the rushing thoughts. The wisest thing for one to do is therefore to catch hold of this leading thought. Am I right? Bh.. 1936 V. * * * * 19th February. The moment the ‘I’-thought rises on waking. In deep sleep you are entirely free from thoughts.Bh. What meditation (dhyana) is the best? Bh.

C. I am afraid I shall never be able to attain it. Atmanadi. (laughing) You have to take chloroform in that case. * * * * 12th February. Sri Aurobindo speaks of two forces which affect the yogic practice. But Sri Aurobindo may be speaking figuratively for the dynamic force which results from concentration in the head centre (or on kundalini shakti) and the static which results from the vichara dhyana in the Heart. in dynamic dhyana and for the attainment of siddhis (psychic powers) and which the yogis claim to end in the sahasrara. C. Is it necessary before Self-Realisation? Bh. All forces come from the Self. which has no directions. I take it to mean total loss of body consciousness. What do you understand by total loss of body consciousness? You do 75 . one horizontally and the other vertically. caught Sri Bhagavan on his way back from the hill. the brain. C. The nadis are the nervous system along which consciousness flows from Heart to the whole organism. Bh. Paranadi or Amritanadi is the force current which rises from Heart to the sahasrara in the static dhyana of the jnana marga. I find it hard to send myself to sleep even. which leads to Self-realisation. Later in the evening Mr. Samadhi is itself the state of the Self. 1936 10. trance. asked: C. Bhagavan speaks of samadhi. Mr. that is. Sushumna has finally to merge in the Atmanadi which supports it. Sushumna is the central nadi which functions in the practice of yoga.Bh. I do not understand it.

in fact indispensable for Realisation. In fact most of them attain mukti eventually by the vichara method. the subtle intellect. but Bhagavan always speaks of the Heart. If it were not so fully awake. Quite so: it has to begin with the mind turned inward to oppose the rushing thoughts and to understand the location of the ‘I’. it enjoys the bliss of sushupti. In samadhi the mind is so alert that it experiences Brahman. C. undisturbed bliss is overwhelmingly felt. how would it know Brahman? In fact it itself becomes Brahman. Mr. perhaps as the last stage in the practice.” Bh. He reads it aloud and says: “From this verse I understand that the quest must start with the mind and not the Heart. i.not imagine it to be falling into a sort of catalepsy or deep sleep. When the mind eventually sinks in the Heart. reads the “Forty Verses” of Sri Bhagavan to himself in the Hall. Does trance convey that idea? If not. Verse 30 fascinates him. Karma and bhakti yogis also attain samadhi if they practise. Samadhi is merging in the Heart through concentration and mind control. it is a wrong word for samadhi. C. being free from thoughts. In verse 266 of Vivekachudamani Sri Shankaracharya says that Brahman can be realised by Buddhi. There is then feeling which is not divorced from pure awareness. In samadhi the mind is in jagrat. 1936 11. which means that the intellect can be of great help.. C. * * * * 15th July. in which the mind is withdrawn. head and heart become one and the same. 76 .e. but. Do Karma yogis and Bhaktas also pass through samadhi? Bh.

Nevertheless the subtle intellect can also realise Brahman and is therefore of the utmost importance. C. Yes. from which consciousness always bubbles out to the body. in whatever state they may be – the waking. the difference being that in the latter the sense of forms disappears. but no one is aware of it. – and whether they are conscious of it or not. 1936 12.Bh. you said yesterday that there exists in the human body a hole as small as a pinpoint. distinct from gross and subtle. For one who lives in this cave as Brahman. yet Bhagavan once told me that any realisation before Sahaja Nirvikalpa is intellectual. C. In the Talks section of Sat-Darshana-Bhashya. The word “buddhi” is rightly translated as the subtle intellect. Bh. O Beloved. dreaming and dreamless sleep. there is in it as in Sahaja itself the subtle intellect. C. the One without a second. Though it comes before Sahaja. but here it means the cave of the Heart. there is no more entrance into a woman’s womb. Vivekachudamani speaks of the ‘I’-‘I’ Consciousness as eternally shining in the Heart. which is not the case in the former. Bh. Yes. the ‘I’-‘I’ is referred to as the Absolute Consciousness. Is it open or shut? 77 . (Reads aloud verse 266:) “In the cave of the Buddhi (subtle intellect) there is the Brahman. the Existence Absolute.” * * * * 30th July. Bhagavan. the ‘I’-‘I’ Consciousness is the Absolute. all men without exception have it. Mr. Supreme.

with a centre in the body as the centre of experience. Yes. It resembles the dynamo of a machine. conscious and unconscious. Also. C. which gives rise to all sorts of electrical works. Mr. This Consciousness is the key which opens it permanently. It is known to the yogis and sadhakas by the name of sphurana. C. * * * * 13. Does the enquiry “Who am I?” lead to any spot in the body? Bh. You must do it with a calm mind – mental calmness is essential. it vibrates and can be felt by the calm mind that pays attention to it. Evidently. like the dynamo. self-consciousness is in relation to the individual himself and therefore has to be experienced in his being. but also the relation between the physical and the subtler planes. How to reach that Centre.Bh. How is it during the experience of ‘I’-‘I’ Consciousness? Bh. In Sahaja it remains always open. on which the individual functions. where what you call the Ultimate Consciousness – the ‘I’-‘I’ – arises? Is it by simply thinking “Who am I”? Bh. When the mind drops in the temporary Kevala Nirvikalpa it opens but shuts again. being the knot of ignorance which ties the body to consciousness. How does that consciousness manifest itself when that centre – the Heart – is reached? Will I recognise it? 78 . It is always shut. it will take you up. C. It not only maintains the life of the body and the activities of all its parts and organs. which in samadhi scintillates with consciousness. C.

and finally plunge into it. as pure consciousness. so that the meditator’s mind. But sphurana can be felt in a subtle way even when meditation has sufficiently stabilised and deepened.Bh. the Self. It is pure. rather of Being – there is no mistaking it when pure. unbroken awareness of your Self. may become aware of it. or after it? Bh. free from all thought. Is the vibratory movement of the Centre felt simultaneously with the experience of Pure Consciousness. Liberation. 79 . Certainly. C. C. Is the I-I Consciousness Self-Realisation? Bh. rendered sensitive by calmness. They are both one and the same. or during a sudden great fright or shock. and the Ultimate Consciousness is very near. it is Self-Realisation. gravitate towards it. It is a prelude to it: when it becomes permanent (Sahaja). It draws attention to itself. or before. when the mind comes to a standstill.

” “I have already said that the Formless God lay in wait for him (Paramahamsa) with all His terror and attraction. which none hazards to penetrate without running the risk of total annihilation. instinctively shrank from the blind vision. the Unconditioned and the Absolute. the last abyss.” (p. My eyes fell on the Chapter dealing with Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s contact with the Bhairavi and Totapuri and strayed to other parts of the book. It was a fascinating chapter. TURIYA. but frankly puzzled by some passages. notably the following:– On page 58: “They both (Paramahamsa and Bhairavi).” 80 . of Whom. the author seemed to be extremely terrified. NIRVIKALPA. 81 and 82): “When young Naren importuned him to open to him the Nirvikalpa Samadhi – the terrible door leading to the gulf of the Absolute – Ramakrishna refused with anger. 59) Of Nirvikalpa (pp. SAHAJA The word Nirvikalpa came to connote. the profoundest and most awful of mysteries. I was struck by its literary beauty.XII SAMADHI. One day in September 1936 I picked up from the Ashram library the Life of Ramakrishna by Romain Rolland and sat in the Hall turning its pages. particularly in the minds of some Western students of yoga. nevertheless. full of dazzling rhetoric about the Impersonal. the Impersonal. the Unmanifest. the Formless.

. the diamond of love of the Divine. coruscates with the most exquisite and the most brilliant “diamond of love of the Divine”. the superhuman indifference of . but how utterly fictitious and misleading it appears to us.” (p. detached forever from all things.. not without anguish. . which are bound 81 . and he had wept with terror at the idea that he too might have to come to a similar condition. terrible ascetics denuded of body and spirit.. 307) Of Muktas (pp. His very terror fascinated him like the eyes of a snake.. is only due to its “Impersonal and Formless Divinity”. despoiled of the heart’s last treasure.” “But he could not escape. had felt prowling round him the formless God and the inhuman. One would expect Romain Rolland.(While Vivekananda was meditating) “suddenly he lost consciousness and was absorbed into the Absolute. the Lord of Nirvikalpa Samadhi – Sri Ramana Maharshi – whose human heart. He had fallen into the depths of the terrible Nirvikalpa Samadhi. far from being a “living corpse”.” How beautiful and how “terribly fascinating like the eyes of a snake” is this description. those paramahamsas from those rarefied heights. During the early days of his stay at Dakshineswar he had felt the terrible fascination of these living corpses (sic!). 58 and 59): “For a long time Ramakrishna. we know. we who daily see before our eyes for years and years the Supreme Mukta. the splendour of which. to resist the temptation of rising to such sublime heights of fatuity when dealing with Truth. Such a man was to be forced to abandon the home of his heart and sink body and soul in the formless and the abstract! Such a train of thought must have been more alien to his nature than it would be to one of our Western scientists. a savant and a great lover of Indian philosophy.

but to others it comes in the course of their sadhana. wherein the world consciousness is totally obliterated as in a swoon. I asked: “Is Nirvikalpa so terrible? Are we then undergoing all these tedious processes of meditation. or Sahaja Samadhi. This is Self-realisation. purification. Mukti. formless Consciousness. All this is due to their viewing it intellectually. Some others think that once you dip into Nirvikalpa you become an altogether different being. the natural. Further practice renders the screen permanently exposed. and. * * * * 82 . which slowly wears down the obstructing thoughts and reveals the screen of Pure Awareness ‘I’-‘I’. “Nirvikalpa is Chit – effortless. Nirvikalpa comes suddenly as a flood. or turn into living corpses?” Sri Bhagavan sweetly laughed and said: “People have all sorts of notions about Nirvikalpa. Where does the terror come in. absolutely nothing. Why speak of Romain Rolland? If those who have all the Upanishads and Vedantic tradition at their disposal have fantastic notions about Nirvikalpa. and glorify it as Nirvikalpa. effortless State. I felt a shiver down my spine when I read these passages. I must confess that. Hence I turned to the Master for relief. and discipline only to end in a state of terror. although I had lived at the feet of the Maharshi for over six months. after reading to him some passages.to scare the unwary. and where is the mystery in being oneself? To some people whose minds have become ripe from a long practice in the past. Still others take Nirvikalpa to be attainable only through trance. who can blame a Westerner for similar notions? Some yogis by breathing exercises allow themselves to fall into a cataleptic state far deeper than dreamless sleep. wherein they are aware of nothing.

all have the same implication. C. although the mind is absorbed in the Self. C. wanted to know the exact meaning of samadhi. Sahaja is also Nirvikalpa. Mr. although some thoughts still impinge on it and the senses are somewhat active. come and go. What is the difference between Sahaja and Nirvikalpa samadhi? Bh. Turiya is obtainable in Savikalpa Samadhi. Turiya. and has the calm vastness of a waveless ocean. C. The Sahaja Nirvikalpa is permanent and in it lies liberation from rebirths. The Fourth State is eternal. the Self is realised in its nakedness and the essence of bliss experienced. Samadhi is one’s true nature. There are two Nirvikalpas: the internal and the external. 1936 1. and is quiescent there. But in the latter. This is compared to a lamp protected from wind. You are probably meaning Kevala Nirvikalpa. the sense of world still prevails without a reaction from within. In the former the mind completely merges in the inmost Being and is aware of nothing else. Bh. Samadhi. Is it the same as Turiya? Bh. dreaming and dreamless sleep. over. In both. namely awareness of the Self. Nirvikalpa. hence the experience of Pure Consciousness is intense in it. the Heart. which is temporary. In Nirvikalpa the senses are inactive and thoughts are totally absent. In Turiya there is the awareness that the mind has merged in its source. so is the bliss. or in which the other three. Turiya literally means the Fourth State – the Supreme Consciousness – to be distinguished from the other three – the waking. while the samadhi lasts.June. When the waveless ocean of the external and the steady 83 .

Bhagavan. What does it then matter whether the body-consciousness is lost or retained. there is an internal as well as an external Savikalpa. although it makes no difference in the knowledge of the Supreme. 1936 2.flame of the internal Nirvikalpa are realised as identical. Is the internal Nirvikalpa absolutely necessary before the attainment of Sahaja? Bh. When it is with effort due to mental disturbances. * * * * July. C. C. the ultimate goal. Mr. when these disturbances are absent. provided one is holding on to that Pure Consciousness? Total absence of body consciousness has the advantage of making the samadhi more intense. Holding on to the Supreme State is samadhi. it is Nirvikalpa. Remaining permanently in the primal state without effort is Sahaja. either Savikalpa or Nirvikalpa is Sahaja. Nirvikalpa is effortless. Both these must lie in another consciousness which is absolute and unaffected. depending on whether the disturbing thoughts are from outside or from inside. whereas Savikalpa is attended with effort. Abiding permanently in any of these samadhis. May I have a clear idea. of the difference between Savikalpa and Nirvikalpa? Bh. or may some remain for Self-Realisation to destroy? 84 . and ever-abiding. Like Nirvikalpa. the Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi is said to have been reached. it is Savikalpa. C. What is bodyconsciousness? It is the insentient body plus consciousness. Should all vasanas (mental habits) be completely overcome before Self-Realisation takes place. with or without the body-consciousness.

* * 85 * * . differed among themselves about whether or not the meditator can be affected by physical disturbance during Nirvikalpa Samadhi. which. but is still alive and can. the mind. as after deep sleep. One’s activities then resemble that of the child who sucks its mother’s milk in sleep. and is hardly aware of the feeding. because the mind has not completely died out. Whereas in Sahaja. although completely submerged under water. The former remain even after Mukti is attained. Both of you are right.Bh. * * * * 13th March. like the bucket which has got drowned with its rope in the depth of the well. there remains nothing in it to be disturbed or pulled back to the world. In Yoga Vasishtha two classes of vasanas are distinguished: those of enjoyment and those of bondage. In the former physical movements may cause disturbance to the meditator. C. but enjoyment without attachment does not bind and continues even in Sahaja. having sunk completely into the Self. at any moment be active again. and Major C. The one refers to Kevala and the other to Sahaja Samadhi. In both cases the mind is immersed in the bliss of the Self. They referred the matter to the Master. 1936 3. Mr. Attachment is the cause of binding vasanas. can be pulled out by the other end of the rope which is tied to the pulley. Bh. It is compared to a bucket. Vasanas which do not obstruct Self-Realisation remain. but the latter are destroyed by it.

Next day Sri Chakravarty. (pensively) Yes. who have been performing sadhana in this Ashram since about a year. led: Jiv. In Kevala Nirvikalpa there is the mental bucket still in existence under the water. hearing Sri Bhagavan talking to a sadhaka about the above question. he will realise himself to be Pure Intelligence – even the body will then appear as that intelligence. which can be pulled out at any moment.25th February. today had an animated discussion among themselves about Kevala and Sahaja Nirvikalpa. it is possible for a 86 . I wish to make our point clear. Sri Chakravarty and Sri Jivrajani. which is absurd. then the world also will be apart from it. Jivrajani. 1949 4. . Is it possible for a person. came forward and said: Ch. The younger. once had the experience of satchidananda in meditation. to identify himself again with the body when out of meditation? Bh. although one comes down from it to the relative world? Bh. as the variously shaped jewellery are nought but gold. which attracted partisans on both sides. who. Is the experience of Kevala Nirvikalpa the same as that of Sahaja. Sahaja is like the river that has linked up with the ocean from which there is no return. Finally they submitted their cases to the Maharshi. but when he gets at the Self. Why do you ask all these questions? Go on practising till you have the experience yourself. A sadhaka begins by taking himself as the body. for you would not be aware of it – awareness being the Self. There is neither coming down nor going up – he who goes up and down is not real. Where is the body? Is the body apart from the Self? If it is. Bhagavan. Two young men. .

87 .sadhaka who has experienced the Self to continue identifying himself with the body when out of meditation. In the floodlight of the Self the darkness of illusion dissipates for ever. but he gradually loses the identification in the course of his practice.

Nirvana is the Perfect State. Service also leads to the same goal – Selfrealisation – if it is selfless. C. nor experiencing in it. Well. Nirvana is that state wherein the sense of separateness does not exist and where the ego has sunk in its source. There is neither seeing. Bh. inasmuch as they make man unselfish and prepare him for the highest Truth. C. hearing. in which he “saw the Masters” as vivid centres of light in the ocean of Light which is Nirvana. this and other similar movements are good. could not reconcile with Sri Bhagavan’s teaching. C. written by a prominent Theosophist. 1937 1. Bh. Mr...XIII NIRVANA 5th May. A visitor asked the meaning of Nirvana.. But after how long and why should one who is ready for the Absolute knowledge go in for the relative? 88 . had read a book called Nirvana. The Nirvana you describe from your reading is sheer imagination. **** 20th April. 1937 2. There is nothing but the pure “I am” awareness. the Heart. So he asked the Master about it. in which the author claimed to have experienced Nirvana after going to sleep. which Mr.

89 . One who is ready for the Absolute will be made somehow to hear of it and then start the practice. He will immediately recognise the value of Atmavidya and will follow it up with determination.Bh. Everything happens in its own time.

single and inactive. Silent Witness. and as. Heart. Hence the Scriptures use various names for the one and the same Reality – Self.XIV HEART. Knower of the field. God. colours sounds and qualities does not in reality exist. of which it is the source. the knot of ignorance which creates the illusion that the world is other than Mind. Being absolute. it is ever changeless. i. to the man who is struggling to release himself from the grip of the senses. Mind. It is the point at which the formless Spirit appears to take a form. as waves.e. it seems to imply a connection with a phenomenon. or exists to the Self-realised man as identical with his own Self. Great Void. Supreme Brahman. or pure Mind. 90 . or thoughts. is synonymous with the Self. Chit. Pure Consciousness. the switch-board of the fusion of light and darkness. But as the word connotes Centre. it appears too true to be lightly rejected as mere thoughts. LIBERATION Heart. that is. Spirit. in Vedantic parlance. the point of union between the Self and the world (or body). as a projection in an objective space independently of the perceiving mind. the world of forms. Heart implies. or point of contact. Such a man needs guidance on his own level and from his own standpoint. Although the world with its myriads of forms. to manifest itself in. Soul. in his own consciousness. formless. It is thus the seat of the granthi. therefore. and many more – denoting the various facets it presents to the seeker in the phenomenal world and the various attempts at explaining them.

birth and rebirth. The latter will then appear in its utter purity as the ever-present. it fails to apprehend itself as the unperceivable consciousness and falls victim to the primal illusion that the body is itself. pervades its creation. till the bitter end.. unaffected and uncontaminated. which flows from Heart to the body. Having thus lost sight of its true nature by false identification. The consciousness which fills the body as life. When this experience becomes permanent through constant 91 . but seeing nothing with the senses (through which it is accustomed to know the world) on which it can confer the title of ‘I’ but the body.” Sri Bhagavan shows the way Home in the simplest words: “Enquire into the nature of that consciousness which knows itself as ‘I’ and it will inevitably lead you to its source. fascinated by the sports of Its maya in the body. the Heart. selfsupporting intelligence. and which creates in it the impression that it is a body. when the longing for home and rest stirs it to carry out a search for them through tapas and sadhana and the guiding grace of the Divine Master. finding the Heart will be experienced as being the Heart. as well as remains beyond it. instinctively knows itself as ‘I’. pleasure and pain. This fall of the individual consciousness from its sublime State is described in Srimad Bhagavata as “the Atman. where you will unmistakably perceive the distinction between the insentient body and the mind. Also. being pure existence (sat) by nature. an entity (jiva) entirely separate and different from all other entities. which creates.The illusion arises out of the fact of life. thinks ‘I’ and ‘mine’. knowledge and ignorance. it gets entangled deeper and deeper in the tamasic and rajasic needs and craving of the material body and thus sets turning for itself the grinding wheel of life and death. etc.

that is why when it is loosened temporarily in Kevala Nirvikalpa there is no body consciousness. every object and sensation disappeared. He requests the Master to give him some more details about Heart and its movements. 92 . which is always shut. which resemble those of a dynamo. It was as if a dark screen was drawn before my eyes and shut the world completely from me. when I felt something rush from the Heart to the left chest and re-established life in the body. When sahaja is attained it opens for good. Heart is the seat of Jnanam as well as of the granthi (the knot of ignorance). I used to feel the vibrations of the Heart. Narasimha Swami is in the Ashram to prepare the third edition of his English translation of Sri Bhagavan’s Upadesa Saram with his own commentary. but of course I was all along conscious of the Self. When I developed rigor mortis many years ago in Tiruvannamalai. Sri Bhagavan said: Bh. The granthi is the knot which ties the insentient body to the consciousness which functions in it.” * * * * 25th April. V. except these vibrations.practice. When the mind drops down in Kevala Nirvikalpa. 1937 1. even in school. This state continued till just before I regained physical consciousness. with a vague feeling that someone was crying near me. it opens but shuts again after it. It is represented in the physical body by a hole smaller than the smallest pin-point. Sri B. the much-desired Self-Realisation or Mukti is said at long last to have been achieved – the ‘I-am-the-body’ illusion has broken for ever.

how do you justify your confining Him to the heart? Bh. so that it can be felt by anyone who pays attention to it. God is said to be immanent. LOOK WITHIN IS THE MESSAGE. We are bodiless and spaceless in deep sleep. and into which it finally resolves. 93 . God is said to reside in the Heart in the same way as you are said to reside in your body. sudden joy. Some place must be named as the dwelling of God for those who take their bodies for themselves and who comprehend only relative knowledge. The fact is neither God nor we occupy any space.A sudden fear. * * * * 23rd October. Otherwise it is felt only in Samadhi. A student who is preparing his thesis for the Ph. or a shock makes the Heart vibrate very forcefully.D. degree asked: S. yet in the waking state we appear to be the opposite. 1936 2. Atman or Paramatman is that from which the body is born. in which it lives. Yet Heart is not a place.

the questioners took care not to put them in a personal form. His state baffles imagination. also known as the Awakened. He is the pure Void of Awareness. act. outside. but always as “Bhagavan”. or the “Jnani’s”. which appears to eat and sleep. without qualities or forms. Hence Sri Bhagavan used to be assailed by questions about the Jnani’s mental state. 94 . He is neither bound nor free. The world neither attracts nor repels him. One wonders how the Cosmic. the Self-Realised is he. has broken the illusion that the body is himself. wraps itself with a frail human body. Although the questions refer to him. The following answers will give a remote idea of his sublime state. It is a mystery of mysteries. Karma. become diseased. tired and hungry. nor in fact anything – he is only himself. Rebirth. he sees it as in a dream. neither God nor man. the Absolute Consciousness. Evolution. who. acts yet does not act. which sees yet does not see. although like every other person. uses a body. Although he has a body. yet not outside his being. nor has any power to destroy him. he found the Heart and realised himself to be none other than the Supreme Sadasiva Brahman. or as he sees any other inanimate object around him. They never addressed him as “you” or “yours”. After lives of strenuous search. Pure Mind.XV THE JNANI – THE AWAKENED The Jnani. the Enlightened. have ceased to have any meaning to him.

Bh. from where will he get the siddhis and to whom will he show them? Both the Jnani and the Bhakta (devotee) do not desire or work for siddhis. Yet siddhis follow them both like their shadows. of a sting or a cut? Bh. siddhis are acquired by prarabdha karma and are not a hindrance in Mukti. They are a hindrance on the way to Mukti. But if he is pure awareness. even his own action is done by this God. are in the mind. 95 . Does he who is in Sahaja Samadhi feel any physical pain. feels it as in a dream. His resembles the case of the two lovers in the story who were tortured together but did not feel pain because their minds were in ecstasy. * * * * A North Indian visitor asks whether the Jnani automatically acquires siddhis or whether he has to strive for them separately if he desires them. had siddhis. HIS SIDDHIS (psychic powers): C. All pains. before Jnana. whose mind is sunk in bliss. Yes. even physical. Everybody feels the pain of a cut or a sting. the former because he sees himself the All. he has no will of his own at all to impel action on his own initiative. preserve them after merging with the Absolute? Bh. Who is the Jnani? If he is the body you see. Do Jnanis who.HIS PAINS: C. gazing at each other’s face. and the latter because he sees his Ishta Devata – his favourite God – the All. say. then his siddhis will be shown to other bodies. but the Jnani.

but they are wonder-struck if a corpse is made to speak. who by merely sitting on his couch. in the same way as he knows the waking state to be a dream. the Supreme Reality – he detachedly witnesses the three other states – waking. or a world-famed artist. * HIS DESIRES: C. They do not see miracles in the man who comes almost from nothing and. he does dream. The main qualities of the ordinary mind are tamas and rajas (sloth and excitement). Bh. hence it is full of egoistic desires and weaknesses.What greater siddhi is there than that of the Sage. Does a Jnani have sankalpas (desires)? Bh. 2. but he knows it to be a dream. dreaming and dreamless sleep – as pictures superimposed on it. yet do not wonder at them. simply because they occur every day. Yes. C. attracts thousands of people from the four corners of the earth. The Jnani being established in the 4th state – Turiya. he is not bigger than this electric bulb. You may call them dream No. But the Jnani’s mind is shuddasattva (pure harmony) and formless. and then he becomes a giant wrestler. 1 and dream No. hundreds of whom change their old modes of life and some even attain Godhood? People see many things which are far more miraculous than the so-called siddhis. asks if the Jnani dreams. functioning in the 96 * * * * * * . when born. * HIS DREAMS: Mr. politician or Sage. orator.

he reads it aloud to Sri Bhagavan: “The liberated man is free indeed to act as he pleases. Kanhangad) for June contains an article by Sri Bhagavan. and when he leaves the mortal coil. It is a Preface to his translation into Tamil of Vivekachudamani of Sri Shankaracharya which has been translated by Mr. yet they fight.subtle vignanamayakosha (the sheath of knowledge). Sri Krishna fought against Bhishma. Struck by the following statement. The Puranas say that Jnanis warred against Jnanis. The desires of a Jnani are external to him like other objects and cannot taint him. C. * * * * 15th June. if he so chooses. V. Is there any desire left in him to choose? 97 . he may continue to work on subtler planes. but returns not to this birth which is actually death. he attains absolution. Yes. Bh. through which he keeps contact with the world. S. reads it to himself in the Hall. How is that? Bh. The Jnanis view all as Brahman. Krishna into English for the “Vision”. This statement gives the impression that although the Jnani takes no birth again on this plane. * * * * A visitor asks Sri Maharshi whether desire does not destroy Jnana. His desires are therefore also sattvic.” C. 1938 HIS VIDEHAMUKTI (after death): The “Vision” (of Anandashram. Mr.

Bh. interpreting Shankara. for after his death. It is a state wherein there is neither bondage nor liberation. Bh. however subtle. that was not my intention. upon Reality. stanza 53. Taking another body means throwing a veil. Liberation is absolute and irrevocable. in one of his books.C. (Note: In his Atma-Bodha.S. which is bondage. an Indian philosopher.) 98 . That cannot be Shankara’s views (he opens Vivekachudamani and points to verse 566 which reads that after the dissolution of the physical sheath the liberated man becomes like “water poured into water and oil into oil”). the Mukta takes a body of light in which he remains till the whole humanity becomes liberated. Shankara says the same thing as in verse 566 of Vivekachudamani – S. says that there is no such thing as videhamukti. No. C. Further.

PART III DIARY 99 .

purer than which there has never been nor will ever be. Advancing age brought a series of mishaps to it – a fall. But after his Mahanirvana I felt the same urge to share it with his devotees in order to bring back to them those hallowed scenes and events which marked the last days of his earthly life. and who in the beginning took some time to recover from the painful void which his physical absence had created in their lives. and the condition of his health. and lastly a malignant tumour. The others who are still with us. Since that never-to-be-forgotten night of April 14. many of his close disciples have also shed their bodies and followed him. has no power to break. a nervous hiccup lasting many days. finally. Some of the talks I incorporated in Part II of this book. continue to feel his holy presence particularly in their meditation. from which there is no return. when the Maharshi for the last time laid down his body and completely merged in the peace everlasting. 1950. which inch by inch ate up the flesh of his left arm. poisoned his blood and. till the disciple succeeds in scaling the same height as the Master and attains union with Him. which proves the scriptural pledge that the spiritual link that nature forges between Master and disciple. for no other object than to perpetuate for myself his blessed memory. 100 . a clinging rheumatism. talks. time. Of these two critical years I felt a strong urge to keep a diary to record the Maharshi’s movements. rang down the curtain on a life. the all-destroyer.INTRODUCTORY The years 1948-50 saw the evening shadows gathering and closing on the mortal coil of the Master.

“Oh. I hear him counting on his finger tips “Tanana. the pet of the Ashram. 1948 An article about Sri Maharshi has appeared in the Free Press. and reads from this book with deep emotion. as well as separately. tana . Pointing to his body he says smilingly. . “This machine cannot move without oiling. In the end he directs his attendant to cut and paste it in the special file. Though smiles light his face. Sri Bhagavan enters into an earnest conversation with him. Madras. Having known of her approaching death.” The famous cow Lakshmi. . Sri Bhagavan quotes from Arunachala Purana that in essence both are one and the same Chit. Then Sri Sastri mentions Vidyaranya as saying that Chit can be Shiva and Shakti at one and the same time. so that all present may hear. 17th June 8-30 a. today passed away at about noon.16th June. arrives from Madras. of which none has a suspicion till he wipes them and blows his nose.” from which I infer they are discussing metre of Samskrit verse. Sri Bhagavan goes on speaking and gesticulating uninterruptedly for about 20 minutes. He occasionally passes humorous remarks and broadly smiles. who has been ailing since some time. tana.m. Jagadish Sastri. He goes into ecstasy on Gautama’s praise of Shiva. . a Samskrit scholar and Maharshi’s devotee. so late!” he remarks and takes to oiling his knees and hip joints to ease their rheumatic stiffness before rising. Sri Maharshi intently follows in another copy. so intently that one would think he was correcting an important manuscript. tears pour out of his eyes. Sri Maharshi 101 . Professor Subbaramayyah of Nellore reads it aloud. It is now 9-55: Sri Maharshi suddenly realises that he is late for his usual small walk by 10 minutes. obviously explaining some passages.

Ma.” Bath over. After the burial of Lakshmi the people began to disperse. to witness which Sri Bhagavan had with difficulty to climb a few steps.m. All the Ashramites gathered and in the midst of them sat Sri Maharshi on a chair. with dozens of pots of water. Two attendants held him at the hips and helped him down them.. then burnt camphor and incense near her. It was with great trepidation that we watched him through the process.m. which made her deserve to be brought to the Ashram to attain Mukti. put her head in his lap and stroked it gently. we heaved 102 . She was then wheeled a few yards away for burial. Ma. affectionate nature and her intelligence. and. sat on the ground. as they do to a human body. At 6-30 p.went to the Goshala (the cow house) at about 9-45 a. and marked her forehead with sacramental vermilion (kumkum). Although the steps were broad and of moderate height he was not able to negotiate them alone. the Brahmins smeared her whole body with turmeric. While the Brahmins were giving her the ceremonial bath. I have never seen Sri Maharshi so weak as this evening. adding: “She might have been a sadhaka in the past. Ma Lakshmi” to comfort her in her last hour. Lakshmi’s body was brought in a cart to the north of the dining hall for burial. and he too was attempting to descend the three steps near the dispensary with the help of the wall.. Sri Bhagavan softly told her life-story to those standing by his side – how she had been brought to the Ashram in 1924 as a calf six months old and how she lived longer than the usual twenty-year span. They decked her with fresh jasmin garlands and put a new red silk scarf round her neck. repeating with infinite tenderness “Lakshmima. when we saw him reach the flat ground safely. But he started vacillating and shaking. He praised her sweet.

in which he accepts Mrs. The other letter is from Sri C. referring to her as a “liberated soul”.m. because Sri Bhagavan had used Tamil metre for a Telugu poem. Madras. This morning he translated his quatrain into Telugu and showed it to the Telugu devotee. We can only look on at his difficulties and feel sad at heart that we can do nothing for him. he turned the name to Lakshmi Pushpam. over which both of them joked and laughed. One is from Dr. Governor-General of India. N. T. as he had done in his own Ekatma-Panchakam – the five verses on the Oneness of Atman. and often tells them to mind their own business. but that when later he heard of the latter. He generally does not like anyone to interfere with him. In the evening Maharshi translated the same quatrain from the original Tamil into Malayalam. which he has named Pushpam four hours after Lakshmi’s death. or offer him a helping hand. Mrs. Professor Subbaramayyah. Prof. but final emancipation. Taleyarkhan hands Maharshi two letters. Taleyarkhan’s invitation to open the temple 103 . in which he writes that his own cow has given birth to a shecalf. giving the date and the astrological sign of her death. 23rd June 4-30 p. 1948 Yesterday Sri Maharshi composed a quatrain on Lakshmi in Tamil.a sigh of relief. He hardly accepts the help of his own attendants. for which he used the Samskrit word “Vimukti” to make it quite clear that it was not merely release from the body that he meant. F. Bhagavan reads the letter aloud and gesticulates smilingly. Rajagopalachariar. 21st June. Subbaramayyah highly praised Sri Bhagavan’s Telugu versification. Krishnaswamy.

which she has built over the Pathala Lingam. a violent blitzkrieg. we thought. Bhagavan draws our attention to the scene. wipes his beak on the hard ground. suddenly falls two hurried steps back and stops meditatively – planning. pecks a few of the grains placed for him by the attendant and walks off confidently to a short distance. who now cools down. The Maharshi and all of us had a hearty laugh at the cowardice of the peacock. 104 . 24th June 9 a. bows in deep salute to the proud peacock and flies contentedly away. he spreads his feathers round his back.m. instead of advancing. He watches the peacock mockingly with one eye and with the other continues to peck greedily – obviously he knows his man. drinks his fill. the peacock. as if ready to spring. cranes his neck and looks fiercely at the crow. To our astonishment the crow proves brazen-faced. it was only a single resolute step forward followed by a dead halt. Horrified. A crow drops in and sets to pecking hastily at the grains. lowers his feathers and struts away with a feeble show of bravery. Now he steps forward with an extremely bellicose gait. By now all the grains have peacefully reposed into the crow’s belly who then hops to the water in the cement basin nearby. but when at last the assault did come. where Sri Maharshi spent the first six months of his stay at Tiruvannamalai in 1896. The Maharshi is reading and talking in a cheerful mood. We waited. The peacock stands aghast at the scandalous encroachment of the crow. Still we are apprehensive of the fate of the crow. But alas. We were thoroughly amused. We all thought that a terrific battle was going to be waged before our eyes. as he remains unmoved. The white peacock strolls in.

pointing to one of them.’ Other squirrels crowded on his couch and for half an hour he continued to feed them with cashew nuts. She shall not have anything. 1943. which was entered in my diary under the date of 28th March. Once she comes from this side. Usually the Master continues to feed the animals * Obviously to draw the Master’s attention. He gave it a nut. once from the other. then another and addressed it: ‘Now go. instant at 10-30 a. one nut at a time to each. His sympathy and consideration for them seem to exceed even those for humans. After a while the same squirrel came back for more nuts. once from under the couch and once from above it. Then he turned to us and. which puzzles some devotees.Sri Bhagavan has all along been very fond of watching the behaviour of animals and has thus become an expert in anticipating their reactions in given circumstances and in knowing how to deal with them to help them. The Master looked at it intently.’ and laughed. At that the following vague thought crossed my mind: ‘Where is the Christ’s injunction that if a man slaps you on one cheek offer him the other?’ “Today a squirrel jumped from the window to the couch. remarking. the Master was dozing. and he confirmed it. Nevertheless. I asked him if my guess was right. and which I feel to the point to record hereunder: “On the 24th. ‘I’ll not feed her. But I recognise her very well.m. and so shall feed her. thinking I do not recognise her. Have you come to bite me again?’ I quickly guessed that that was the guilty squirrel of four days ago and wondered how Sri Bhagavan recognised it and relented. said: ‘This She-squirrel has been trying to fool me. A female squirrel leapt on his couch and bit his thumb* which he quickly pulled back and stroked. 105 . as it did once puzzle me in the following incident. Yet he sometimes appears gently severe with them.

which made the Master nod approvingly. The Tamil paper comes. Rajagopalachariar. 1948 8-30 a. broadened his smile and softly spoke in Tamil in his usual telegraphic brevity to my neighbour: ‘Even animals understand a rebuke and. The peace. our Governor-General. like the perfumes of the incense and the flowers.. wearing the naval uniform and cap of Lord 106 . which he turns over and over excitedly. Incense is burning in profusion near Maharshi’s couch. is all-pervading. I laughed. that thought needed the explanation. frankly admitted the vague thought I had had on the first day. rai!” It is a Tamil translation of the original Sarvajnanottara. 28th June. from which he had fifteen years earlier translated 52 verses into Tamil without knowing of the existence of a translation of the whole work made more than ten years earlier. Maharshi is handed a book. After a while he turned in my direction. The difference he finds to be very small. they learn to behave. exclaiming “Rai.m. The morning is very cool and fresh after last night’s shower. This is a great revelation to him. Maharshi opens it and sees a caricature of Sri C.. Some of them are more sensible than some others. Then he sat with pensive look and a faint smile on his face. which made it disappear at once. he lifted his fan in threat. He goes on reading with great joy. if it is repeated a sufficient number of times.” 4 p.till of their own accord they cease to come. He hurriedly turns to the verses he has translated and compares them with the corresponding ones of the older translation. rai. seeing it persisting.. due to the difference in their view points – his being pure Advaita and the other’s Shaiva Siddhanta. But to this one he refused to give again and. and added that although I had never doubted Sri Bhagavan’s wisdom.’ This was immediately translated to me.m.

Really speaking jagrat is ajnana and sushupti prajnana (wisdom). Sushupti is often characterised as the state of ignorance. except the face. occasioned by the experience of agreeable objects.” * * * * Mr. C. No.Mountbatten. We enjoyed more his innocent joy than the artist’s sketch.” Mr.” Sri Bhagavan commented:– “In sushupti (deep sleep) one enjoys a whole ocean of bliss like a king. it is the pure State. from the king down to the penniless. Bh. C. his predecessor. Everything. What does it all mean? It means that bliss comes only from inside ourselves and that it is most intense when we are free from 107 . Bhagavan utters a loud chuckle and turns to us to explain the joke. If sushupti is not the real state where does the intense peace come from to the sleeper? It is everybody’s experience that nothing in jagrat can compare with the bliss and well-being derived from deep sleep. whereas in the other two states the range of bliss is as wide as are the classes of men. It is said to be ajnana (ignorance) only in relation to the false jnana (knowledge) prevalent in jagrat. whilst in the dream and waking states it has only a partial manifestation. when the mind and the senses are absent. There is full awareness in it and total ignorance in the waking state. In the end Maharshi remarks: “This resembles the work of maya – the Real is hidden in the unreal sheaths. just as Rajaji is hidden in Mountbatten’s clothes. sat near the Master’s couch and read aloud the following verse from Vivekachudamani:– “The blissful sheath (Anandamayakosha) has its fullest play in deep sleep. is Mountbatten’s.

instead of placing them on the special offerings-table.m. Maharshi laughs louder and says: “Not like that. that is. till he dozes off to the tune of the flute and the tabla. the Self. which is Brahman. That is why samadhi is also described as sushupti in jagrat. 29th June 8-30 a. He writes. resting the 108 . But those who know him guess that his whole attention is centred on the music. the cause of misery. 25th July Sunday. Every now and then he eludes the attendants and goes out alone. Maharshi laughs. apparently unconcerned. In other words. therefore. I understand he hardly sleeps in the night. Devotional songs are heard from Trichy on the radio by the Maharshi’s side. when the mind and the senses are fully alert but inactive. the Be-ing alone is bliss and the mental superimpositions are ignorance and. when we are in our pure Be-ing. he shoves them in Bhagavan’s hands. 1948 10 a. which create the world and the body. Maharshi returns from his short walk and hardly sits when a very small boy carrying two small mangoes comes and.” The boy returns munching to his mother. who immediately puts it to his mouth and bites. He reads a Tamil paper.m. Maharshi. the blissful pure being which prevails in deep sleep is experienced in jagrat. keeps one and returns the other to the child. Hence three of them nowadays keep a constant watch in the night lest he should go out by himself and fall without anyone nearby to help him. 1st July. while writing.thoughts and perceptions. 9 a. listens to the music programme on the radio. as usual.m.

looking around for response.30 a. He looks at the timepiece and cries: “O. 109 . His eyes are wide open and the eyeballs roll from side to side as thoughts roll in his mind. reads Atma-Bodha of Sri Shankaracharya. follow in copies in their hands. The attendant. Mr.. At times he is so overwhelmed by it that he stops writing and chuckles aloud. Maharshi is seriously occupied on a manuscript which he is correcting with Mr. Visvanathan. V. who sits down to carry out his instructions. Visvanathan.m. It is now 10 a. till he finds the right construction of a sentence or the idea he needs.” He quickly takes the bottle of ointment.m. when he turns to Mr.m. one verse in Samskrit and one in Tamil. Often he stops writing and beats time to the music. la! it is 10 o’clock! Why didn’t you tell me? Look at that! 10 o’clock and they didn’t tell me!.. V. Maharshi and Prof. and dictates to him. who has been hesitating since some minutes.. 15 minutes too late for going out. 27th July 10. The Tamil verses are Maharshi’s translation of it. The dialogue must be extremely droll to cause him to try hard to stifle his laughter. V. 26th July 9. The comic part in Tamil follows. There has already been a Tamil translation in existence. but it did not please the Maharshi. Bhagavan is doing hard thinking. draws his attention to it.15 a.pad on his raised right knee. Maharshi calls the old devotees Professor Venkataramiah and Mr. la. and makes them sit down. lubricates his joints and rises in haste. I have never before seen him so involved in thoughts. on which he has been occupied since about a week.

rather he is already dead. without raising his head. so he does in his last moment – the worldly man thinks of his worldly affairs and the devotee of devotion and spiritual matters. He coolly takes it and carefully reads the label. 17th August. Bhagavan completes the answer.m. Rappold. yenneh” (take it away.2nd August 9-30 a. Sri Maharshi is absorbed in writing. His power of observation is amazing and his show of curiosity in the smallest object. Mazumdar. she places them on the offerings-table. calls the attendant to fetch it. (Then he stops and waits for a competent translator. prostrates and goes to her place. Devaraja Mudaliar enters. Then he returns the bottle as indifferently as a child does to an object in which it is not interested. without the slightest desire for it or for anything under the sun. a Bengali devotee.m. an American devotee opens his eyes from meditation in which he seems to have been deeply sunk and raises his voice: Rappold. once. Bhagavan. what should a devotee do at the time of death? Bhagavan. it is oil). even the smallest type he strains his eyes to read. is still more amazing. Mr. Mrs. From the corner of his eye Sri Bhagavan espies the bottle and. But a Jnani having no thoughts of any 110 . comes in with a tray of fruits and a bottle wrapped in tissue paper in her hand. “Eh. though delightfully naive.) What should a devotee do at the time of death? What can he do? Whatever a man thinks in his life-time. which the attendant does. he tells the attendant and resumes his writing. twice. 1948 10-15 a. A devotee never dies.

his body also died with them.” he said. Although sleep resembles death in leaving all possessions behind.” I thought to myself. having died long ago. being the Tamil anniversary of his arrival at Tiruvannamalai (1896). who signifies that it is an offering for Bhagavan. “God. “What will I do with it?” and. which seems to be made of the best ebony. he smilingly says: 111 . When they go to sleep they do not have such fear at all. Again. and carefully examines every part of it. Therefore for him there is no such thing as death. Maharshi takes it. Today. A visitor hands the Maharshi a very beautiful walking stick. on the rumour that the Maharshi had passed away. His thoughts. forgive them for they know not what they do. is entirely free from the fear of death. 28th August From early morning people started flocking from the town to the Ashram. In the evening Sri Bhagavan tells everybody and jokes about it: “A man. it causes no fear in their hearts because of the knowledge that the next morning they will enter into their possessions once again. but became happy on seeing him in good health. Sri Bhagavan replies. people fear death because they fear to lose their possessions. I asked him to see for himself” and chuckled. 5th September 9-40 a. Many of them came with tears flowing from their eyes. He remains the same after death as before it.kind. and then told me of the rumour of my death. then stretches it back to the giver. The Jnani.m. “in the morning gave me his namaskar. having no sense of possession. turning to the disciples. turns it on all sides. some enemies of the Ashram played this practical joke. remains the same.

As the Maharshi saw him approach. Shankar Rao. Two attendants gently helped him to rise and gave him a seat very near Bhagavan’s couch. but today the bandage has been removed and it is left exposed – it is presumed to have healed.” 22nd February. The very aged Ashram stapati. assisted by Dr. his eyes opened widely and shone with extreme delight. 1949 About a fortnight ago. seeing it. Nowadays I am being presented with them. Srinivasa Rao. the master sculptor. After he calmed down Sri Maharshi enquired after his health. contravening the Ashram rule which forbade the touch of the Master’s body. as if he had seen a long-missed friend. Stapati was so touched by these signs of Bhagavan’s affection that his whole body shook. 112 . Then the presenter will feel sorry. who has been absent since a long time. I’ll cherish it all my life. which the old stapati observed. removed a very small growth from the left elbow of the Maharshi.m. came in tottering. as it has been hallowed by Bhagavan’s touch. but he did not know how to do it. probably due to old age ailments. since when it has remained bandaged. fell flat on Maharshi’s feet and legs and bathed them with tears. the Ashram Doctor.“In olden days I used to make and give away sticks. 1949 5-15 p. which made him exclaim: “Your grace has overwhelmed me. Finally he yielded to his impulse and. What will I do with them? If I take this stick. and the visitor’s depression turned to elation. carrying fruit offerings. it will remain here unused till someone will one day carry it off. Dr. He wanted to give expression to his love and adoration for Sri Bhagavan. Will it not then be better for him to take it back right now and. 2nd March. he will always remember me?” The devotees laughed.

He was taken directly to the inner temple and helped over the short flight of steps and made to touch the stone Sri Chakra. when Maharshi was taken to open the new big Hall attached to the temple.the cause of his absence and all his other news. visitors and a huge crowd. sat Sri Shankaracharya of Puri.. from all over India especially from the neighbouring villages. 113 .. By then Maharshi showed signs of exhaustion and had therefore to be taken immediately to bed for the night’s rest at about 10 p.m. which stands immediately behind the lingam. as the symbol of the Creative Power latent in the Formless Spirit (Chit).. started pouring into the Ashram since the 13th. opposite the Hall. where a brief ceremony was performed. on the floor. He was then taken out and made to sit for the first time on the stone couch in the new temple Hall. 18th March Kumbha-Abhishekam. has ended today.m. It was a sight to see Sri Bhagavan so deeply moved in meeting again an old Ashram worker. All round him sat a large number of devotees. After a while he was taken out and lifted into the Yagasala. known as Mathrubhuteswara. Being too weak to turn the colossal key of the door. the consecration ceremony according to Hindu rites of the temple built over the remains of Maharshi’s mother. The brief ceremony was over by 9 p. which was covered with red velvet cushions. who had taken a leading part in the architectural designs of his mother’s temple according to the rules prescribed by the Hindu Shastras. masses of it.m. the young stapati turned it for him. who had arrived that morning for the purpose. Humanity. People began to prostrate before him half a dozen at a time. which started on the 14th. when Sri Maharshi sat on an armchair and not very far from his left foot. The Yagna ceremony began on the fourteenth at 8-30 p.

who thought himself an instrument of Sri Bhagavan’s divine will. Flames leapt from dozens of specially-constructed fire pits.000. but of a man. Flame and smoke rose sky-high to the loud chanting of more than a hundred priests. morning. who was fully indrawn and totally unconcerned on the surface. The 15th.000. when the brass vessels – the kumbhas – about six in number. The grand climax came on the 17th. but by mere thought. also in its being built stone by stone under the very eyes of the Maharshi and in its most sacred portions being hallowed by his personal visits and touch. The most silent man in this huge din was Sri Bhagavan himself. The sight was impressive. Yagna ceremony went on at top strength in all the three yagasalas erected for the purpose. fed by pure ghee and a special kind of sticks. and the 16th. movements were impeded. despite all 114 . violins and tablas played by his side. there was one compact mass of human heads. a desire not of his own. Ten years of tireless efforts have come to an end. Although it was an orderly crowd. the total was estimated to be over 15. The value of this temple consists in its treasuring in its bosom the body of the mother of one of the greatest Saints and Sages that have ever lived. Musicians with flutes. saw the crowd increasing by the hour. conveyed to him not by word of mouth.On the 15th. the Sarvadhikari. The dream has now taken shape. morning the crowd swelled to over 10. evening. Such was the influx of the visitors from the mofussil that by the 16th. But all this was drowned by thousands of voices from the crowd. From the Morvi Guest House to the north wall of the Ashram. were taken to the top of the gopurams (towers). Sri Maharshi’s couch was placed on the North verandah of the new Hall. But his disciples knew his joy at the fulfilment of a ten-year old desire to leave for posterity a spiritual heritage of priceless value.

Sri Omandur Ramaswamy Reddiar. which continued till about midnight. subsequently started to grow again. when Sri Maharshi went to bed. thus closing the Kumbha Abhishekam series of ceremonies and functions for the time. The lingam was soldered to its stone platform with twenty tolas of gold (8 ounces) contributed by devotees.the efforts of the volunteers to keep a way open. Dr. The Chief Minister of Madras State. At 11 a. Then he returned to the new Hall and sat on the stone couch over which stretched a white silk canopy embroidered with silver presented by the Maharaja of Darampur. The day ended with music and songs given by aristocratic young ladies from Madras. his sincerity and his unremitting efforts in building up the Ashram and the temple. when Mrs. Raghavachari. 1949 The lump which was removed from Maharshi’s left elbow last month and which was thought to be healing satisfactorily. and garlanded him. sentence by sentence. Sri Niranjanananda Swami. Then he was taken to the inner temple and made to place his hand on the lingam just then installed in front of Sri Chakra. came today from Madras with surgical 115 . followed by temple music. so that the eminent surgeon. Sri Maharshi was taken out to give the special signal to the priests on the gopurams (temple towers) to start the abhishekam. 27th March.m. which pleased him considerably. All the highest officials of the District and many magnates from Madras came by cars. was called and made to sit opposite the Maharshi. was expected. Taleyarkhan read a short speech in English in his praise. for his earnestness. The speech was immediately translated into Tamil. He gently raised his hand and the bathing ceremony on the top of the temple started. Then the Sarvadhikari.

due to the local anaesthetic injection given to him before the operation. The operation lasted 20 minutes and ended at about 10-30. But Sri Bhagavan’s moods are as bright as ever and the lustre in his eyes is not in the least dimmed. He does not expect a recurrence of the growth. because in his opinion Sri Bhagavan was too old to rub them effectively. A week ago came the analyst’s report which diagnosed it as sarcoma.m. Seeing that he was not understood.instruments to remove it. is seated on the ulnar nerve with two fibres in it. But before the fruit was brought the little boy disappeared. which controls the forearm and fingers. Sri Maharshi entered the Ashram’s clinic at 9-40 a. No one can tell if he is feeling any pain. This morning a small boy about ten years old by my side spoke to me in Telugu. then he turned to us and explained that the child. leaned on it and talked hurriedly to the Master. A section is sent for microscopic examination. then you must also do the eating for me. Maharshi was all smiles and tenderness to him.” and called the attendant to give him bananas. 116 . having seen him lubricating his joints a little while ago. The lump. performed the operation skilfully by cutting deep and removing the last cell of the growth. 18th April. we are told. 1949 Sri Bhagavan’s wound from the operation of the 27th March has not yet completely healed: it is healing very slowly. without injuring the ulnar nerve. It has since a few days been mildly bleeding. Our anxiety is not yet at an end. Then turning to the child he told him: “If you are going to do the rubbing for me. offered to do it himself. which has been temporarily diagnosed as neuroma. The whole afternoon Maharshi remained somnolent. he walked slowly to the Maharshi’s couch. The surgeon.

In those days I was alone with the elephant. when I hid myself in Patala lingam.” At about 5 p. but in course of time the ground-level rose. A lady devotee wept much and went to him in tears and asked him to give her his disease and be cured of it.m. twice he waved her off. in 1900.” They prostrated and left. you who are curing others must cure yourself and spare your life for us. Sri Maharshi replied: “It was taken four years after my coming i. seeing her great concern finally replied with great tenderness: “Why are you so much attached to this body? Let it go.20th April Sri Maharshi’s health is causing grave anxiety to the three doctors. approached Sri Maharshi and explained to him all the arrangements they had made for the opening ceremony of the temple erected by this lady over the Pathala Lingam. They wanted to know the year in which the first photograph of his was taken at Tiruvannamalai and a few other details.e. Originally that lingam was on the surface of the ground. they used to pelt me with stones and potsherds from outside. the lingam sunk still lower. so much so that it earned for itself the name patala (underground) lingam. as well as to the devotees. T. and. saying: “Bhagavan. before the big temple was built. like all other samadhis. Urchins used to run after me and. But Sri Bhagavan continued his reminiscences: “I stayed about six months in the big temple (in which Patala lingam occupies a small corner). which was always tied in the mantapam.. your devotees.” Once. September 1896 to March 1897 – in all the places in it. who have been in constant attendance on him. the local Police officials and Mrs. When much later the thousand-pillar mantapam was built about four or five feet higher than the ordinary level. none 117 .

Nambiar and Dr. Whatever it may be. At 3 p. a boil . 27th April. but Sri Bhagavan himself is as jovial as ever. Everyone is depressed. but radium application.m.. it will take time to heal. but no answer has so far come. 1949 Last night at 6-30 p. though visibly weaker. as I used to sit in the south-east corner. it is not an operation. brings him a postcard from his brother in which the latter enquires after Maharshi’s health and asks whether the Master had that morning undergone the third operation. There are two kinds of tumours – malignant and non-malignant.of which. K. and the broken steps which could not be seen from above. on Bhagavan’s elbow?” Sri Maharshi replied. Sri Ramiah approached the sofa and cautiously enquired: “What is this . but it is giving me no trouble... to which Maharshi replied: “No.. All are old devotees. however.. I am feeling no pain nor any inconvenience. The lump is growing from inside like a lingam. at which Maharshi exclaims “Is that so?” and waves his hand to indicate his indifference. Kalyana Sundaram. We all smiled at his ingenuousness. could reach me. Mr. T.” 24th April Radium has been applied to Sri Maharshi’s wound for the first time today.. The doctors have taken some slough from it and have sent it to America to see if they can use radium or not. Sri Ramiah arrived with Dr. The urchins never dared to come in because of the extreme darkness in the pit. N. a devotee and an ex-Ashram worker. 118 . Why worry?” After a few minutes attendant Venkata Ratnam goes to enquire on his own initiative and returns to inform Bhagavan that no slough has been sent to America.m.

as if to say “Why all this fuss?” At 5-20 p. romba sari! Oho!” (very important. the lawyer. romba nalladu. .) yes. excellent). . R. for full ten minutes. He waved them off with his right hand. he switched on the table fan by his side and started reading some notes. excellent). Aha! romba sari. . but the doctors insisted that it should be removed. which he immediately did. in the evening he stealthily went behind my back while I was engaged in reading and fanned me. he repeated the whole scene to him: “Look at the great devotion of this man (V. I told him if he had so much devotion for me. It is said that service to the devotees is as meritorious as service to the guru . who had just arrived. as soon as Maharshi returned from his evening walk and sat. sitting by the side of the attendants. After about an hour on seeing T. go and do it.m. who by now got absorbed in reading and fanned him. R. he should also fan all these my devotees. (turning to V. . Attendant Satyananda started fanning his back. why don’t you go and fan all these devotees? Romba visesham . He thinks his tapas to be so powerful as to compel me to bend to his will .“Yes. . Sri Maharshi asked him to stop it. Thus he taunted and railed at him. Soon Sri Bhagavan noticed it and turned squarely on Venkata: “Oho! how great is your bhakti! Look how stealthily you came behind me and fanned me – Aha! If your bhakti is so great. P. Then he turned this way and that to complain against V. attendant Venkata Ratnam. 119 . The two doctors advised him not to move the arm and disturb the radium. I told them not to cut it.” (very good. R. Ramachandra. nor to touch it with the other hand. today. Let it be.” and continued to talk cheerfully to the three of them. it will be all right. A little later.)! Although this morning I had protested against anyone fanning me. quietly slipped behind the Master. .

for they felt that that decision of his amounted to a death sentence. About a week ago they were unanimous in their recommendation to amputate the arm. advised the use of radium first. The other is surer and safer. They decided to remove the radium and watch the effect. which has been translated into English. so that he may know the real position from the medical point of view and direct us. He saw a leaf drop from a tree. which will render that hand practically unusable. you will please let me look after mine. namely.m. This morning two more joined them. 1949 The temple bell went on tolling till noon with beating of drums.1st May Last night at about nine o’clock three doctors came from Madras and took X-ray photos of Maharshi’s arm. he found amputation unavoidable and at 445 p. 2nd May. Maharshi then walked back to the hall with supreme indifference.” which made one or two devotees standing within earshot go aside and sob. It has for the present arrested the growth to a great extent. Today. At 5-15 p. Maharshi and Devaraja Mudaliar talk about a Tamil book. Bhagavan tells a story from it: “A traveller passed by a brook and sat by its side for rest.m. It is now for Bhagavan to decide. he saw Sri Maharshi alone in the bathroom and told him: “I want to be frank with Bhagavan. the surgeon. but Dr. There are two ways of finishing this case: the first is scooping out the flesh right down to the bone. Raghavachari. however. Half of it fell in the water 120 . loud prayers and puja – officially closing the kumbha abhishekam ceremony which started on the 14th March.” Maharshi paused for a few seconds and replied: “As I let you look after your body. amputation of the whole left arm from the shoulder.

killed the demon and saved them. The men started vehemently abusing the newcomer for being the cause of their imminent death.” On the 30th night the doctors gave Maharshi bloodtransfusion – about twenty ounces. which he named and which. who then appeared. a demon swooped on him and lifted him up to his abode. Lord Subramanyam. In the evening he saw the wound and declared it “not as bad as I thought it to be”. Shankar Rao to apply on it a certain herb. They were men who had fallen from the path of virtue and piety. which kept him thinking hard. and directed Dr. who had been similarly kidnapped. Before seeing the wound he questioned Maharshi on the five koshas and the three bodies spoken of in the Hindu Shastras. the well-known medical practitioner in both Allopathy and Ayurveda. he declared. 121 . which continued from 10-30 p. They had been very well treated and sumptuously fed by the demon. till the newcomer brought their number to one thousand. when the demon prepared them all for a sacrifice to his god.m. because it would interfere with his usual programme of going out at 5-30 a.m. 8th May This morning Dr. Bhagavan as usual gave him an Advaitic answer.m. their host. While the traveller was puzzling over this phenomenon. The former turned into a fish and the latter into a bird. arrived from Madras. where there were 999 other men. He refused to take another bottle of it.and the other half on the land. Lakshmipathi. Dire dread made them direct their minds towards God. till 2 a. and the two started pulling each other. would complete the healing process.

122 . Sri C. so that if cut out of one place it may appear in another. 14th May. Bhagavan remarked with a twinkle in his eye: “O yes. which appears and re-appears in the same place. that Sri Bhagavan’s tumour is a peculiar neuro-sarcoma and not cancer. 1949 His Excellency the Governor-General of India. Mrs. he is a doctor and knows. arrived last night in a special saloon with His Excellency the Governor of Madras. but I am using it daily. and the wound is nearly closed. kadakka. We are told that the action of the radium will continue till the 5th June. the Maharaja of Bhavnagar. The Ayurved school teacher. Rajagopalachariar.” and showed some by his side. If it appears on a limb and that limb is amputated. Taleyarkhan. The radium needle was removed on the 5th. but loudest of all laughed the Ayurved himself. Sri Maharshi is definitely against amputation. and Her Excellency the Maharani of Bhavnagar with their aides-de-camps and retinue to open the temple over the Pathala Lingam. A small bag of kadakka (myrobalans) came by post. But in this case. the Maharshi said: “Oh. whereas sarcoma is a local growth.” All of us laughed. Cancer is constitutional.Today the tumour seems to have completely disappeared. Seeing it. due to the application of radium. although its base is still hard.” Everybody was puzzled at the simplicity of the treatment and the magnitude of its effect.m. Maharshi looks also much better and healthier. the hostess. Sri Ramachandra Rao of Bangalore got up and said: “If we grind some of these nuts and apply the paste on Bhagavan’s wound it will surely heal. there is an end of it. 9th May 10-30 a.

Then he opened the temple at about 8-45. as he usually does when not engaged in any work. His Excellency said in English to the Master that it had long been his own and his wife’s wish to have his darshan and sit on the floor rather than on chairs like now. Sri Bhagavan will meet devotees and visitors. H. as the donor and architect of the temple. from today on. It is to be his statue. 123 . their mother tongue. Sri Maharshi remained silently gazing in space. It was plastered with turmeric and vermilion and camphor light was waved before it for good luck by the chief sculptor (stapati). At noon Their Excellencies and party returned to Madras after lunching at the railway station with the Governor-General. after which he returned to his saloon. and after ten minutes. which the Maharshi could see from his couch across the south door facing him. they rose. After introducing to him Mr. in which. Their Excellencies the Maharaja and Maharani of Bhavnagar drove to the Ashram and sat on two chairs opposite the Maharshi in a straight line with his feet. she delivered her welcoming speech in English. bowed to the Master and left to worship in the Ashram temple and see the Ashram round. After the ceremony a big block of granite stone was brought and placed at a point outside.received His Excellency exactly at 8 o’clock this morning in the big Arunachaleswara temple in the town. to which he replied in Tamil. 1st June A small ceremony was performed this morning which made the new temple-hall the permanent Darshan Hall. Tarapore. Their hostess spoke to them in Gujerati. who made the first chip on it with his hammer and chisel. J. his family and a few others.

whose sense of humour seemed to have deserted him at the moment. 1949 Last night at about nine o’clock. You have the wound in the same place as myself. or an effort to think what should best be done for it. which immediately drew blood. when Maharshi’s left hand was being massaged. implying that I should cure my arm by my own will. “Is that so?” Maharshi remarked and set himself to massage it. rather briskly. The attendant answered that the doctors had ordered him not to massage it lest it should bleed. Subbaramayyah spoke to me of curing diseases by will-power. He seems to be determined to leave his disease entirely to itself without a vestige of a wish to be well again. what then have I or my will got to do with it?” and so on. he asked that the upper arm. should be also massaged. with the right hand. Hardly I finished this thought when Sri Maharshi observing him laughingly remarked: “Hoho! you are competing with me. which does not augur well. This morning at about 8 o’clock Sri Bhagavan started talking: “Yesterday Prof.” Everybody laughed. He worries over it even less than he would if it were a mere lump of mud on the wall behind him. 124 . Did I ask the tumour to come.Last evening a very old disciple of the Maharshi. prostrated before him. 15th June The dressing has been removed. 25th June. where the wound is located. Benzoin alone is painted over it. I noticed a gauze bandage round his left elbow and thought to myself that it looked as if he were imitating Sri Bhagavan. now an old man. except the old man himself. so that I may tell it to go? It came of its own accord. There is a prominent lump surrounded by a red ring. because it felt itchy.

Since a few days. Today Rani Saheba timorously approached Sri Maharshi with prayer to him to cure himself. In her gentle. Today the herbalist applied a highly irritating herb on the wound “to suck out all the morbid matter” 125 . In any case Sri Bhagavan will not allow radium application any more than he will allow amputation. dismissing the proposal as of the least consequence. in whose centenary celebration his disciples prayed that he should live for another hundred years. 6th July Muruganar Swami. as the last application had burnt the skin and left the flesh bare. handed Maharshi a Tamil poem composed by himself. so that you may.5th July On the 3rd. the last portion of which dropped yesterday. Hearing it. You want me to live up to hundred. a Tamil scholar and poet. Their Highnesses of Mandi arrived with their son on the 3rd. Sri Maharshi said: “There is a story of a Vaishnava Saint. The Ashram authorities had therefore to call in the herbalist. pieces have been falling from the tumour. who had. treated the fracture of his collar bone. praying Sri Bhagavan to live up to hundred years in perfect health. A devotee read it aloud. pray for another hundred!” 15th July Bhagavan’s health seems to be improving. at the end of it. a very old and distinguished disciple. years ago. Today he came and applied some herb paste with the help of the attending doctors.” He merely waved his right hand. soft voice she threatened: “I will not leave this place till Bhagavan promises me to cure himself. the doctors agreed that no more radium could be applied.

was tremendous. which implied that he would not have his dinner alone in the darshan hall. judging from Maharshi’s listlessness. and probably from the drug. Sri Maharshi’s solicitude for the guests and devotees occupied the first place in his mind. On his return the weakness and the forcible dragging of the legs were more pronounced. even after having dropped exhausted on his couch. which is said to be now flat. he showed signs of extreme weakness – his whole body shook. signs of death were on his face. although as usual he never complained of pain or any inconvenience. By evening the irritation must have reached considerable proportions as to cause shivering and perhaps feverishness. so that by the time he crossed the frightfully high stone threshold into the hall and looked at us. even for one step. who had supported his hip-joints in his journey to and from the bathroom. Even in a solemn moment like that. and the legs were utterly unable to stand or bear his weight. Internal medicines have also been given since some days. somnolence and drugged look. where the old application was substituted by a new soothing herb.from its base. Every one of the three hundred men and women devotees present turned pale and remained transfixed to the ground. but somehow he steadied himself and. managed to go to the bathroom. But when at 4-45 he prepared to go out. and whispered something to him. The strain on the heart from this exertion. as he had suspected such a plan was afoot. with the attendant’s support. till the attendants made signs to them to sit down. when life hung by the flimsiest thread. but as 126 . We all thought he was going to collapse in a heap before our eyes. which was later explained as his declared desire that the dining routine should not be altered. for he hardly rested than he called attendant Satyananda. as we judged from his loud panting.

he stopped. A few of his important disciples went to him one after another and begged of him to consent to dine alone in the darshan hall where he sat. He tottered for a while and. and with firm steps too. but he refused. but in order to make him avoid the southern entrance. and we saw him preparing to get down and walk. but he turned down the request by moving to the southern door and climbing the steep steps. 20th July. I would walk far steadier. as the tumour was still present and that what had fallen off was only the cauliflower excrescences which had been necrosed by the caustic herb applications.m. is preceded by seven steep steps. The tumour has increased in size and Bhagavan’s health has greatly deteriorated with a daily rise of temperature in the evening and loss of appetite. he was requested to enter by the northern one. Our hearts were in our mouths when the dinner bell rang at 7-30 p. Guruswami. Walk he did. which is far more than his state of health would permit.usual in the dining hall with others. The dining hall is situated at a great distance from the darshan hall and its southern entrance. seeing the attendants ready to hold him. by which Maharshi usually enters. Dr. To go there for dinner would compel Sri Bhagavan not only to make the distance on foot. the famous diagnostic physician 127 . which had only two easy steps. 31st July Faith in the herbalist has completely waned. as well as climb all the seven steps. 1949 Last night a lady-doctor saw the Maharshi’s wound and privately told some of us that there was nothing to congratulate ourselves for.” and entered the dining hall unaided. On the 25th. turned to them and said: “If you leave me alone. but also cross the terrible threshold of the hall.

as no doctor except one took any notice of them. Sri Maharshi in his usual compassion wanted the two devotee-homeopaths also to be called. This morning eight doctors were counted in the Ashram. For some days the Brahmin priests of the Ashram have been daily performing a special puja and suryanamaskar (sun worship) for Maharshi’s recovery.m. He prescribed injections. and this Balarama is older than this Krishnamurti. at the radium treatment. They were called just to satisfy the letter of his wish. Bhagavan is cheerful and jovial as ever. 128 . same hair. Some more arrived at noon for a big medical consultation.” At about 3 p. which stopped it since two days. Seeing Krishnamurthi. 1949 Because of evening fever.” and laughed heartily. same features – and now they are sitting side by side. In the night one of them was taken to task for having administered a single homeopathic dose to Sri Maharshi earlier in the afternoon. He expressed great dissatisfaction at the way the case had been handled. the radiologist. and at the application of caustic herbs. sitting in the first row next to a great devotee. he exclaimed in surprise: “Haha! what a coincidence! He (the radiologist) always reminds me of Balaram – same complexion. Today Maharshi remarked: “What is the use of this? The Spirit which is in the sun is here and everywhere. Balaram Reddiar. Balarama is the elder brother of Sri Krishna.of Madras came and saw the wound. although his health is much worse than yesterday. Maharshi has been given four penicillin injections aggregating one million units. the first of which was given on the 28th night. 2nd August. all the doctors assembled for consultation.

” etc. so that after 9-30 a. which Maharshi did not notice. 7th August Although tomorrow will be full-moon and therefore Maharshi’s shaving-day. the doors were closed. . who will be greatly inconvenienced . Disciples were therefore requested to attend only one hour in the morning and one in the evening for the usual parayanam (Veda recital). the maximum rest and comfort should be given to Sri Maharshi. But when at 3-30 p. they must not be disappointed. if the doors remain closed.Yesterday orders were issued that in view of his extreme weakness. He argued: “Many people come from great distances for darshan and cannot wait till evening. Today also the hall remained open as usual. people will suspect something serious and the whole town will flock. if you pin the devotees to only these hours. . Disciples could prostrate outside the hall. The bell of the temple remained silent this evening. From yesterday parayanam also stopped and with it the admission of the disciples into the hall. but the devotees attended only the two specific hours. Secondly. he rebelled and commanded that they should be immediately opened. prostrate and go out immediately. 129 . the time may not suit some of them. Today being Tuesday as well as a Hindu festival. but the devotees were privately requested not to cause him discomfort by their presence. Visitors alone could enter. yesterday he was given the shave. he saw the doors still closed and came to learn of the new orders. The doors remained open.m. with the exception of the very few who were immune to persuasion. Thirdly. which most of them obeyed.m. a constant stream of villagers continued to flow in the hall to prostrate and go out for pradakshina round the sacred Arunachala Hill.

At 7 a. etc. Dr.c.c. which frightened the surgeon. The surgeon took great care not to leave a single morbid cell in the wound. constables and special volunteers had to control the crowd. plasma and 650 c.m. so as to cause immediate clotting.m. 130 . who stopped a while and started giving bloodtransfusion. Sri Maharshi walked to the dispensary very early in the morning to be prepared for operation. The two bottles of plasma brought in advance did not prove sufficient.” an alkaloid of opium. which is not actually a knife. for today’s operation. He had thus to cut very deep without interfering with the ulnar nerve. so that by 10-30. tightly bandaged. then the arm was put in plaster of Paris. From 8 a. He was given an injection in the left shoulder of a new anaesthetic of the “novocaine” family and also one of “omnopon.Last night surgeon Raghavachari arrived. of fresh blood.m. The operation lasted about two and a half hours. some of which was mixed with the plasma and some given as it is. with the result that neither bleeding nor infection takes place. today. simultaneously with the singeing of the blood vessels. the operation proper started. to keep him half-asleep and to deaden the pain of the operation. blood plasma.. The operation is to be bloodless through the use of a diathermic knife. before him arrived all the necessary instruments. All approaches to the dispensary were closed and sentries were posted at them. but a blunted needle controlled by electricity. so that fresh blood was taken from the radiologist and others. Guruswami also arrived by car. At about 8-15 a. The needle merely moves over the flesh required to be cut and the electric current does the actual cutting. devotees started pouring from South India and from the town. A little after the beginning of the operation Sri Maharshi had laboured breathing. In all he was given 250 c.

rushed to him with folded hands and tried their best to take him back to his bed in the dispensary. At 5-15 people were allowed to enter from the east door. The bhaktas arranged themselves in a queue and filed past him with only a bow – prostration was not allowed for lack of time and space. or rushed in and out of it on one mission or other till about 10. Devotees may kindly disperse now. Guruswami and told the anxious crowd that “the operation is highly successful. the Maharshi suddenly rose and went down the dispensary steps towards the darshan hall. 1949 Yesterday Sri Maharshi felt very uncomfortable with the plaster of Paris sticking to his flesh. prostrate and walk straight out by the south door. but Bhagavan must have full rest today and must not be approached.Numerous doctors crowded the dispensary. tomorrow they may have his darshan if the doctors will permit it. 9th August.45. and thence to the darshan hall. but it was of no avail. which dismayed the doctors.m. This morning although Maharshi’s temperature was normal and he was feeling better. but started gathering again at about 5 p.m. the plaster was removed and at 12-45 afternoon. but the plaster was too thick to make an impression when massaged. The attending doctors were flabbergasted.” The crowd gradually melted. no one was allowed to enter 131 . when Sri Niranjanananda Swami came out with Dr. At 11-30 a. at least up to 4-45. Having received the news that a large number of devotees were anxious to see how he was. He tottered to the new bathroom. but with difficulty he eventually agreed to a compromise to be placed on the verandah of the dispensary and there give darshan. He felt a great itching sensation in the wound. Sri Maharshi insisted that he should walk to the darshan hall.

the smaller and weaker ones towards both ends of the mould. 1949 In honour of the Independence Day.m. 15th August. The first and second most potent needles are deadly and. the radium mould would not be disturbed. which usually stands near the couch. they are handled only with a pair of tongs. attendant Krishnaswami today opened the doors of the hall and let people in for prostration only on his own responsibility. due. although seven days have already passed since the operation day. Dr. The healing process has not yet started. was today placed outside the south door. P. so that flower and fruit offerings may be deposited on it. The age of each needle is estimated to be between 200 and 400 years.the hall even for mere prostration. This had to be made outside the south door. it is said. through which devotees could see him facing them. The offerings-table. to the Maharshi’s low vitality. prostrations are being done outside the south door. the Madras radiologist. 132 . Rama Rao. although encased in hard gold. which remained open with a sliding collapsible door drawn across it. 14th August At 5 p. The radium needles are encased in gold containers. He applied it with mathematical accuracy – the larger and more powerful needles in the centre. came and stuck radium needles in a wax and moulded it over Maharshi’s wound and bandaged the arm with plaster of Paris. so that even if the hand moved. Penicillin injections are being administered to prevent sepsis. without being able to enter. The doors of the hall continue to be closed.

24th August This evening the parayanam – stopped since a few weeks – is resumed and will continue henceforward. Dr. Sri Bhagavan’s health permitting. Since some days a baby leopard is brought to the Ashram in the evening and taken to Maharshi. The pain which he has been feeling during and before the radium application is subsiding. Sri Maharshi looks well and walks fast enough. Yesterday he enquired: “When am I to have my food in the dining hall with the others?” About 3-30 p.m. during which devotees are allowed to sit in the hall. Rama Rao came from Madras with his family. For the first time since the 6th August the big bell in the Ashram temple rang this evening during puja. Confidence of complete cure is entertained if no growth will reappear within a month. which is the sign of healing. Shankar Rao. but to my eyes he looks much thinner than before the last operation. relieved to some extent by the hot water bottles applied. He continues to think of the devotees who may be missing him at meal time. Sri Maharshi’s food is given to him on a table placed level with his couch in the darshan hall.m. The doors of the hall remain open only for prostrations since the 15th. the Ashram doctor removed the radium mould and found healthy granulations in the epithelium. saw the wound and said that no prognosis could be made before three weeks had elapsed. morning and evening as before. Sometimes he jokes with the attendants. Dr. who pats and looks 133 .18th August At 5-40 a.

29th August. Raghavachari and his assistants closed the hall for about one and a half hours and removed a small quantity of the slough. Bhagavan is bubbling with joy over it and is showing it to everybody like a schoolboy who has written his first poem.intently at it. 11th September Today is the last of the 48 days of the Suryanamaskar prayer. At 4-30 p. Sri Maharshi’s emaciation in the neck and legs is daily increasing. Dr. which has been clean and healing for some days. recommended by Dr. which Maharshi had written with his own hand in ten long lines. Every day it has been read in the Ashram’s Veda-Patasala by special Brahmins. taking it to be a hymn in praise of the Lord of Creation. it has been recited in the hall immediately after the usual daily prayer and has taken two hours to finish – 7-40 to 9-40 a. which it avidly laps like a cat. 1949 Sri Maharshi composed a verse in Tamil over which an English lady-devotee grew very jubilant and looked forward to reading it in English translation. it has sweet rhythm and has 134 . and then rewards it with three cups of milk. which they took with them for examination in Madras.m. It turned out to be a laxative recipe. Guruswami for the recovery of Sri Maharshi’s health. started sloughing again. 27th August Maharshi’s wound. being the closing day. But today. We immensely enjoyed listening to it.m. It consists of 132 hymns taken from the Yajur Veda. The Sarvadhikari is very fond of it and expresses his love by slapping it hard on the back.

His order had to be obeyed. passed away at about midnight. he started talking about her and went on the whole day telling her story from 1908 – one year after Echammal came. Her body was made to sit cross-legged in Yoga asana. Sri Bhagavan looks better and the wound is said to be healing. as it is customarily done to the bodies of sannyasis.been read with fervour in well synchronising voices by seven Brahmin youths led by their teacher. and a pit was dug within that compound which is not far from the Ashram proper. then garlanded with flowers and sprinkled with sacred ash and camphor and finally buried for final rest. and how she stuck to him all these years with unflagging devotion and wholehearted service. probably the uplifting tunes of the Yajur Veda recitation had something to do with this optimism. when told that it would be in the Hindu general burial-ground. he said that it should be in the place where she died. 15th October Maharshi is suffering great pain from stiffness and rheumatism in the left knee. though very slowly. 24th September The old Mudaliar lady – “Patti” – who has been daily serving Maharshi with rice cooked in her own house and at her own expense for forty years. – when she first came to him in Virupaksha Cave. for which a Brahmin devotee has given him homeopathic doses of Magnesia Phos internally and fomentation. As soon as the news of her death reached Sri Maharshi. which raised our hopes for a complete recovery. He enquired about the place of her burial and. He is walking with difficulty. upwards. In order to give him easy access to the bathroom at night and to spare him the crossing of the high threshold of the hall which has 135 .

the Hill of Fire. Sri Maharshi has had his shave as usual. Arunachala. directly facing the Holy of Holies. when he was a mere youth in his teens and made him substance of His substance and indistinguishable from His Essence. The holy beacon will be lighted tonight on the top of Arunachala. he was helped back to his couch. who has spent here thirteen days for recuperation and rest in the proximity of the Maharshi. another name of Shiva. 20th October Yusuf Meherali. as he almost always is on religious occasions.become a veritable nightmare. During arati Sri Bhagavan was completely indrawn. and other objects personally used by him. but a big puja in the temple. Arati over. a few feet away. the Chairman of the Socialist Party of India. his bed from tonight on will be placed in the tiny room (adjoining the bathroom). which symbolises the light of the Spirit in all hearts and in the universe. After the holy lingam was plastered with cooked rice and arati about to be performed. 4th December This is Deepam Day – the full moon of the month of Kartikai – most holy to Hindus in the South. enthralled Sri Maharshi fifty-three years ago. left today. Sri Bhagavan was made to sit on a chair placed over the stone lotus in the centre of the hall. 1949 Today being full moon. because of an important Hindu festival. which has so far been used for storing the linen of his sofa. There has been no parayanam in the hall in the evening. Arunachala. 5th November. The devotees squatted on both sides of him on the floor. a mere hill 136 .

Tonight Sri Maharshi sat in the north verandah of the darshan hall from where he could directly see the top of the hill. and drugged by all sorts of powerful drugs. hacked on many occasions by the surgeon’s knife. remained for him the blissful Universal Self and the Living Guru. Sri Niranjanananda Swami came on the scene. gazing expectantly at the top of his beloved Arunachala. burnt by radium. chest and forehead. making a sacred triangle with those of the hill and of the big Arunachaleswara temple. All around him hundreds of devotees squatted. Every year. or is this to be the last? As we see him seated fresh and bright as ever. A minute or two before six. followed by distribution of several kinds of prasadam. reading of the Vedas. What miracles are being performed in it! What are its mysteries! Ten minutes before sunset. Not far from his sofa stood the large brass vessel. some on the cement verandah. both in one. prayers. we cannot help being optimistic of his recovery.of stones. three-quarters filled with pure ghee. ready to be lighted at the right moment as the Ashram beacon. but the majority on the sandy ground. since the foundation of this Ashram. the time for lighting the deepam. the flame suddenly 137 . this day has been celebrated in it with illumination. But this jubilation is not without a sting. he stood by the side of the ghee basin and received the ghee offerings brought mostly by the lady-devotees and poured them into the ghee vessel. and devotional songs. Will the health of Sri Maharshi favour us with another Deepam day and be with us in the flesh. With bare breast and fresh from his bath and the Shaiva marks prominently drawn on his arms. surmounted by a thick wick. The body which is stricken by a most malignant disease. bears no trace of the agonising ordeal in the brilliance of its eyes or in the joyful expressions of its face.

. and supported when he stands or begins to walk. etc. When he looked up and saw over the door of the store-room a design of Arunachala Hill with the beacon lighted over it in cement. saw the tumour and ordered his staff to make all the necessary arrangements for operation which he fixed for Sunday. as well as to his inability to use the left arm. 1944 Surgeon Raghavachari came yesterday at about 2 p. All the workers were happy at his visit. accompanied by the reading of “na karmana”. His food is not nourishing and he often refuses the extra dishes and fruits. to see for himself its renovated verandah. the 18th. began.” Sri Maharshi nowadays dozes a lot and the rheumatism of his knees has grown so bad that almost all the time two attendants massage his legs and thighs. “Now that it is no bigger than a small lime it can be easily removed. because he was able to walk about sixty yards both ways. Maharshi’s health is fairly normal.m. Sri Maharshi asked him what would happen if the tumour were to be left to itself. About ten days ago he paid a visit to the store-room opposite the back-door of the kitchen. after which the series of chanting.leapt up on the top of the hill and our Ashram flame immediately followed it. 138 . adding. he grew reminiscent and told the attendants that it was a copy of the original design which he had drawn on paper more than twelve years earlier. singing. and he answered that it would grow exceedingly large and would create all sorts of constitutional disturbances and complications. 13th December. but also to the stiffness of his knee and hip joints. but he needs to be lifted up when he slides down on his sofa. This is due not only to muscular weakness. He can use only the left fingers. if no movement of the elbow is involved.

but the doctors came out only at about 9-30. 21st December Sri Maharshi is still in the dispensary and devotees are given only half an hour to file past him morning and evening. but was postponed to today. what they thought best. He looked very pallid and languid. Many ladies. the Maharshi. after having given him blood-transfusion of 400 c. and that they were now free to do for him. mostly from fresh blood. seeing Sri Bhagavan’s depleted health. and the pent-up feeling of the devotees has run so high that yesterday it found expression in the cry “Homeopathy. 19th December Yesterday the Ashram dispensary was made ready for the operation which was to take place yesterday. But no precise information is being given and no bulletin issued. 139 . Thus a cloud of pessimism and despair hang heavily over the hearts of the devotees. Everyone asks the question: “What is to be done now?” 23rd December The anxiety over Maharshi’s health has considerably increased. It is reported that the surgeon had warned the authorities that all that could be done for the Maharshi had been done by his system of medicine.. just time enough to bow and move off.c. I understand that last night anodyne and sleeping drafts were administered to him to make him comfortable. At about 6-15 (before Rahu kalam) the operation started and continued till about 7-30. return from the darshan with tears streaming down their cheeks. but none dared to suggest it. and this morning at about 5-30 Sri Maharshi walked slowly into it.Monday. which greatly disturbed the devotees and set each of them to think of his or her pet doctor and specialist to take up the case.

Raghavachari came today. and tomorrow he will give internal medicines. saw the Maharshi. Iyer. 140 .” 24th December. 1949 T. S. S. arrived early morning and talked with the Maharshi for one full hour in the dispensary. What to do? The wound is now very big. the homeopath. Iyer started the treatment with Calendula lotion as external application. Sri T. an apple and a little pepper-water.m. covering nearly the whole upper arm. He added: “Four people at a time now have to keep awake the whole night to lift him down to his feet from his couch when he wants to go to the bathroom. and. 26th December Dr. for as soon as he eats his rice. S. which is his staple diet. he immediately brings it out. now increased to one hour each time. attendant Rangaswami with sleepy eyes and tired look told me that Sri Maharshi’s pain was greater and his vitality much lower now than after the last operation. Iyer.homeopathy!” from many of them. Evening and morning darshan continues. At 7 p. Bhagavan hardly sleeps or eats. requesting him to take up the case. T. sent a telegram at dead of night to the veteran homeopath in South India. . Sri Bhagavan was very gracious to him and answered all his questions. All he eats is some fruit juice. The clamourers marched to the office. From yesterday Maharshi started eating rice without discomfort. We almost do not sleep at all . and had a talk with the homeopath. . as he is not used to a bedpan. after which he left back for Madras. a thing he rarely does: he always respects persons older than himself. after a long conference.

and 5 to 6 p. as devotees began to collect for Maharshi’s birthday. For the first time in the history of the Ashram. 1950 At about 9 o’clock last night Sri Maharshi quietly slipped out of the dispensary to his tiny bedroom. The Master appears weak and strained from moving up and down the sofa. Three attendants have to support him from the breeches. Maharshi today did not have his Jayanti meal along with the devotees. which made meditation there very difficult. It has been rumoured that the Sarvadhikari is going to request him to go to the big hall for the celebration and arati on account of the great gathering of devotees. he ordered his sofa to be placed outside this small room in the passage and gave darshan from 9 to 10 a.m. when arati was brought out. He sat from 9 to 10-30.m. where he spent the night. In the evening the attendance was heavy. without the usual Veda parayanam. from where they could see Sri Bhagavan. 5th January Today is Jayanti – Sri Maharshi’s 70th birthday. His stiff knees did not permit him to squat 141 . Yet he struggles hard to push himself through the very narrow space between the wall and the sofa to and from the bedroom. fearing lest the crossing of the forbidding threshold should prove the last straw. nor be touched. as before. which this year falls on the 5th. so that the left hand may not move. The squeeze was such that the overflow of lady-devotees had to seek sitting accommodation down below. We were worried over it. instead of going to the darshan hall. All the wide verandahs and spaces facing the Maharshi were packed.2nd January. But to our relief we found him this morning giving darshan in the usual passage. Today.. in the coconut grove.

1950 The Veda parayanam which stopped on the 19th December started again today. but inside the temple. etc. the sound of which reached us on the east verandah where we faced the Maharshi. as ordered by the homeopath. 20th January. the last of which today. Since the 6th. 8th January Sri Maharshi’s health is reported to be well enough to justify an increase by half an hour in the darshan time to one and a half hours twice a day. but simply intended to keep them on their toes. free from chillies. followed by Nux Vomica for costiveness.. whereas in private they abandoned him. He came out and rebuked the attendants for showing diligent attention to his person in the presence of others. He was rather ruffled this afternoon by a small incident. not near the Maharshi as before. tamarind. onions. a third dose every morning. In the afternoon he gave darshan from 3 to 6 o’clock. when he found himself left alone in the bathroom with none by his side to help him. 8th February Homeopathic treatment is continuing with Thuja in the 30th potency. from tomorrow.e.on the floor. and asked them not to crowd around him any more for this show. a single dose of Thuja 1000th was given to Maharshi. in order not to disappoint sadhakas. who had come from long distances. as well as 142 . two hours longer than usual. garlic. Old disciples knew that he did not mean to deny the complete devotion and ungrudging service they all gave to his beloved person.. Secondly he was on special diet. Since yesterday he has been feeling some discomfort near. i.

closely examined the new swelling and declared it to be the sarcoma again. appraised the homeopath in charge of the case of the General’s advice. The Sarvadhikari asked the English disciple. The homeopath will leave on the 16th to the hills and will keep a homeopath friend to look after the case. if it were an inflammatory process. who came on inspection duty to Tiruvannamalai. on the 19th December. “At any rate. Surgeon-General of Madras State. called at the Ashram at about 10 a. 14th February A new growth is now appreciably perceptible just below the spot operated on. which he thought would dissipate it. who had led the clamourers for homeopathy. Shankar Rao. at the request of a friend and saw the wound. Raghavachari came before noon. to be present henceforward at the dressing every morning. 15th February Dr. which “will soon subside leading to complete cure”. “we should know what it is. which must not be interfered with.” he remarked. He did not like the swelling and recommended penicillin.” Dr. but which the homeopath declared to be an aggravation from the high power dose.some thickening of the flesh around. which frightened the authorities. the wound. but the latter turned it down on the ground that it might be an aggravation from his dose of Thuja 1000. 12th February General Bhatia. the attendant physician. which would disappear within a week. 143 .m. which the homeopath persists in diagnosing as a swelling due to his strong dose.

which the Moos ascribed to his medicines “driving out all the morbid matter from Bhagavan’s system. immediately took charge and started with an external application followed by a laxative. utter devotion. Dr. A second conference was held in the evening which also ended inconclusively. and calmness. T.The pain has greatly increased. to be repeated once a day. so much so that the slightest touch of the hand causes Maharshi to wince. left yesterday. 25th February. started his treatment with one dose of Silicia 30.I. and some devotees was called in which the attention of T. Mr.S. the Sarvadhikari. He does his work with genuine humility. 144 . 17th February Before T. Whilst not denying the reappearance. The Moos (the Malabari Vaidya: doctor of unani medicine). Shankar Rao remained the attending physician.I.” to use his own words. 1950 Yesterday homeopathy was declared a failure and altogether stopped.I. the succeeding homeopath. He proved extremely valuable in cooperating with any system of medicine and with any doctor appointed by the Ashram authorities. who had been called and had arrived on the 21st. 6th March Sri Bhagavan’s health is visibly deteriorating.S. R. was drawn to the surgeon’s verdict. 27th February The tumour started bleeding. A conference of the doctors.S. Iyer. reiterated his faith in a possible cure if his homeopathy were allowed to continue.

14th March The tumour has rapidly increased in size and the pain in severity. Although the Moos continues to treat, he has admitted his failure to cure, or even to alleviate the pain. Dr. Shankar Rao has given an anodyne to relieve the pain. The blood-test taken two days ago showed only 58% of haemoglobins, indicating severe anaemia. But with all this Sri Bhagavan’s face remains bright, calm and serene. Not a sigh, not a grimace of suffering not a shadow of fear or restlessness mars the repose of his countenance or the lustre of his eyes. He remains in his usual splendour, poise and grace. Even the peace which has all along radiated from him, continues to be powerfully felt. A newcomer looking at him would not suspect that such a virulent disease was inside that graceful body, sapping its life away by the minute. 17th March On the 15th, Dr. Raghavachari and two other doctors came, saw the condition of Maharshi and gave a written report, which the Ashram authorities quickly locked up in the iron safe, which led to the presumption that it contained a bad prognosis. Since some days reports of Sri Maharshi’s deteriorating health have been appearing in the Madras Press, especially in the English daily, The Hindu. Maharshi’s temperature for some days has been standing at about 100 (his normal is around 97.5). His systole today is 98, pulse high, heart has rapid action, perhaps hypertrophied, with ankle swelling and the growth continues to expand. 20th March The Tamil radio and Press broadcasts of Maharshi’s illness in Madras and Bombay caused yesterday a large influx of anxious visitors and devotees from all over the South,
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amounting to about a thousand. Among them was Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, the former Dewan of Travancore, who carried for Sri Bhagavan a garland of beautiful roses of a man’s size. A Bengali devotee brought the good news from his “competent” astrologer that Sri Maharshi “would live at least till July 1953, if not for another twelve years”, as his disease was “not a malignant tumour, but rheumatic inflammation”, (sic!), for which he recommended a certain basmah (siddha medicine), which the devotee himself could secure in its “absolute purity” from his own great Kaviraj (a siddha doctor: specialist in Ayurveda) in Calcutta. But the Moos, still in charge of the case, refused to administer it, suggesting patience for another four days, at the end of which the Kaviraj might be called to administer it himself, if Maharshi’s health would not have improved by then. Some disciples supported one side, some the other, with the result that the basmah was not given. In the meantime the case has become almost unmanageable and the weakness excessive. Yesterday morning while going to the bathroom, Maharshi tottered and fell. His attendants, having been unaware of his increased debility, continued to behave as before and failed to support him when he walked. Luckily it was a mild fall and did not have adverse after-effects. 24th March, 1950 Yesterday evening suddenly Maharshi’s temperature rose to 101.6, his pulse likewise rose, the heart’s murmur was heard all over the chest, and the smell from the wound worsened. While returning from the bathroom at 6-15 p.m. he felt faint and crashed on his couch. Dr. S. Rao and the Moos, who were quickly called, gave him some coconut water and absolute rest. After fifteen minutes he recovered.
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26th March After darshan hour last evening there was much activity outside the hall. Mrs. T., Mrs. M., Mr. B., Mr. S., Mr. Balaram Reddy and one or two others went into consultation, once jointly and once in small groups and rushed here and there, and to and fro for about forty minutes. I knew there was something brewing. Later I learnt that they had sought permission to call in the Kaviraj and that the permission had been granted. Immediately a telegram was sent to him to Calcutta to start for this place without delay. The Moos’s treatment has stopped. 27th March Maharshi is suffering from persistent nausea and cannot retain even water. There is no appetite, and urination is very scanty. The tumour is now as big as a coconut. 29th March The Kaviraj, who arrived at 10 a.m. today gave the Maharshi his first dose diluted in milk. Sri Maharshi’s weakness has become so pronounced that since last evening he stopped sitting out for darshan. Devotees are now twice a day made to pass his door and bow to him in queues formed in the garden below the passage near where his sofa used to be placed during darshan hours. Systole fell to 88 and diastole to 60. The Kaviraj gave orally two or three more doses during the day. 5th April Yesterday Monsieur Cartier-Brassen, the expert French photographer, took a photograph of Sri Bhagavan, which may prove to be the last one of him.*
* It did prove to be the last.

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1950 Symptoms of definite toxaemia have set in in Maharshi’s body. The rate of his red blood corpuscles has fallen to a new low and his intake of nourishment is not worth mentioning. as directed.Maharshi’s health has remained more or less stationary since about a week. Parashurama Iyer came to see me and told me that he had asked the Sarvadhikari to call in the Kaviraj’s assistant from Calcutta. and his wife had Sri Bhagavan’s darshan in the small room. His nausea and scanty urination have not been persistent. I feel. far too strong in the present state of Bhagavan’s health. For the whole day his urinary secretion did not exceed one ounce.” So they wired to the Kaviraj to send a competent man. 6 p. which continues to prevent his coming out for darshan. particularly as they are not prescribed and prepared by myself. Parashurama Iyer. then worshipped in the Ashram’s temple. The tambara (copper) basma which I am asked to give is. enquired after the two white peacocks they had presented some weeks back and left.m. 148 . The tumour is spreading with masses of cauliflower-like heads. 6th April. yet there has been no improvement in his general condition. Yesterday morning His Excellency the Governor of Madras. Dr. “for I do not agree with the medicines left with me by him. I have given a very small portion of it and fear to give more. The Kaviraj left yesterday for Calcutta after keeping directions and medicines in the hands of the local Kaviraj. I do not want to bear the consequences of such strong medicines. Till now Sri Maharshi has not passed urine at all for 24 hours. Dr. The case is hopeless. the Maharaja of Bhavanagar.

7th April Sri Maharshi is slightly better. He is less drowsy today and is voiding urine from time to time. He has ordered his attendants to offer him nothing for which he does not ask, saying: “If I want water, I’ll ask for it: you are not to remind me.” He is given six times a day the Kaviraj’s medicines in liquid form, which he finds irksome to take. “What! again medicine!” he would exclaim when given again, and whatever liquid medicine he ingests he deducts from the quantity of the liquid nourishment, liquid being the only form of food he now consumes: not that he wants deliberately to sabotage the doctors’ treatment, but it is simply impossible for him to accommodate in his stomach more than he can conveniently manage. And if he is pressed by an unwise person to take a little more, he goes on satyagraha against all food and medicine and no man born of a woman can prevail upon him to remove the ban till it pleases him to do so, when he feels that the punishment he has inflicted by his resistance is commensurate to the pressure exercised on him. Doctors gently argue with him that scanty urination can be relieved only by an increased intake of fruit juice and water. “And if I can’t take?” he would answer, and there the matter must end. He leaves his body to manage its health or diseases as best it can, without the slightest effort of co-operation on his part. His mind is ever sunk in bliss. It is true that his body is suffering, but that is no reason why he should disturb his mind to oblige it. If it dies, well and good; if it remains, so much the worse for it: it is the business of Him who made it to keep or take it away and do all the worrying – it is none of his own business to interfere and inconvenience himself on its behalf. The systole fell to 78 and the diastole to 50.
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8th April Last night Maharshi felt too weak to walk to the bathroom. A commode was brought in for him and he is using it. For three nights he has been suffering from severe headache, which the attendants relieve by pressing hard the head. It is reported to be due to the abnormally low blood pressure. 9th April, 1950 Anxiety and grief are stamped on every face after the evening darshan. Maharshi is very listless, almost lifeless, and troubled by headache, hiccup and extreme exhaustion. The Kaviraj’s son arrived today. He looked very young, raw and thoroughly incompetent to deal with a serious case like this. At 7 p.m. he gave medicine to Sri Maharshi, but at 8-30 Dr. Shankar Rao reported severe headache, pulse rate 100, systole 76. A conference was held between the doctors, the new Kaviraj, Sri Omandurar (Chief Minister of Madras), a Bank Manager devotee and one or two others. I hear the following conversation: Omandurar: Yes, do something but give no internal medicine. I do not know. I am not a medical man, but give no internal medicine. Bank Manager: Let the Kaviraj go on with his preparation . . . and we’ll see. Dr. S. Rao (appearing worried): Yes, all right, let the Kaviraj prepare the external application. Kaviraj: It will take one hour to prepare, but if you have anything to give in the meantime you may give it..... Bank Manager: Yes, while he prepares it, if you, Dr., have anything to give, do give it.
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Dr. S. Rao (thinking hard): No, let him prepare the external application (he walks away). Devotees have the premonition that tonight is a night of extreme crisis for Sri Bhagavan. One by one they came – men and women – about seventy of them – and squatted on the east verandah of the hall in pin-drop silence and in pitch darkness, listening to Maharshi’s hiccup and whispering to the attendants. At about 10-30 p.m. the Sarvadhikari, coming out of his office and, seeing the shadowy congregation, suspected the presence of lady-devotees as well. He raised his voice in their direction and told them: “Now rise, all of you, and go home, please.” After some hesitation all rose and quietly dispersed. 10th April At a conference held at 3-30 this morning it was decided to give up the Kaviraj and revert to Allopathy. Telephone calls went to devotee-doctors in Madras to come immediately with heart specialists. Sri Maharshi is so weak today that he is unable to make even three steps to the commode in the room, nor use the bedpan. He tells the attendants: “I do not want to eat or drink, so that I may not need to use the commode. If I take only a little nourishment, it will dry up inside and I’ll not need to rise every now and then. Besides, if I take more than two ounces, I feel as if I have taken a big meal. No, I can’t use a bedpan.” His awareness is absolutely undimmed. Darshan was not permitted this morning and when the Maharshi noticed it at 9 o’clock, he enquired into the reason why the curtains were not rolled up to permit people to see him, but did not press the matter further. I later learnt that he had taken the authorities to task for having disappointed devotees from having darshan, with the result that in the evening
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This darshan is no doubt a very great strain on the Maharshi. 12th April. have to be controlled by dozens of volunteers from the Ashram. pale. Three attendants are massaging hard his legs. It looks as if we are on the eve of Doomsday. During the half-hour running darshan at 9 a. 1950 10 30 a. who had gathered for it. tomato juice and some coconut water with glucose. His nourishment consisted today of a little fruit juice. Many disciples have been here. In his present state of health the strain on him must be great. who. waxy skin and drained of vitality. one for women and one for men. Today he is stretched full length on the sofa.m. His couch has eastwest position and the door through which he looks at the devotees faces south. our hopes. he could only at times turn his face to the 152 . at least. the eve of a day on which we are destined to be deprived of everything we hold worth living for: our refuge. yet he refuses to stop the darshan. sunken cheeks. The darshan queues. The upper half of the body is exceedingly sensitive and cannot be touched without causing him severe pain. who keep devotees almost on the run to give chance to all to have a glimpse of the Maharshi and make a quick bow to him within the prescribed time. our greatest treasure – the precious life of the Master. knowing it to be their last chance of being in the company of their beloved Master. keeps his face constantly turned towards the devotees the whole time the darshan lasts. in his infinite compassion. so that for one full hour he keeps his head turned in that direction and strains his neck. I counted this evening 17 to 20 persons passing his door per minute. with hollow eyes. away from their homes for many weeks. or even reduce it to once a day.it was allowed at the usual hour – 5 to 6 – for the one thousand devotees.m.

Maharshi’s temperature was 96. Women are weeping. never lies down when he gives darshan. expresses no opinion on what should or should not be done for him. As a rule the Maharshi. men are dejected and brood in silence. Still these two headstrong men would have over-ridden the doctors’ advice and continued to harass Maharshi’s unwilling throat with useless drugs. Since some days he has 153 . When he was offered kanji (porridge) in the morning. morning and evening. head heavy and aching. At 8 p. but for the overwhelming opposition which rose from very influential quarters against their stupidity. violent pain in the legs and thighs. On each of the two big operation days. last August and December. pulse rapid and thready. is allowed to treat him – an argument which the doctors justly treat with contempt.” which they did.” Then the attendants take the hint and use greater care in handling him. Everybody gave up hopes except the astrological fans who pinned their faith to charlatans’ maps. who is still kept here. as if to give a piece of information. complains of no pain. for all feel this to be the last day. Doctors stopped testing and examining him and strictly forbade all access to his room. but today out of excessive weakness he lay fully stretched. he remarked: “Why all this kanji? Give me butter-milk. except when lifted or touched in a painful spot – then and then only.. He has taken also water off and on. blood pressure 68/36. The two top men in authority continue to wrangle with the doctors that Maharshi is curable provided the young Kaviraj.devotees. he remarks: “There is not a spot which is not painful to the touch. But till the last he asks for nothing. but mostly he is listless. Maharshi is still conscious and at times speaks. however ill he may be. especially today when the pain is so severe. diagrams and prophecies.m. he reclined on cushions.

Then followed the Kaviraj with still narrower diet and more potent medicines. no man with blood pressure below 80/50 has the chance of living long and Sri Bhagavan’s body has been below 80 for more than ten days and today it is 68/36 – abnormal! So we can’t say. my tongue has lost its sensitiveness. nor have I appetite for any food. that and the other item of diet to which he had been accustomed. my taste is spoilt. It was again followed by the same dejection and anxiety as in the morning.. frequently repeated.been saying that dieting has spoilt his appetite and upset his digestion. With all his ailments Sri Bhagavan remembered that it was his (the relative’s) father’s death anniversary. and substituted it by his own – a vain fad.” 154 . how can I do it?” This morning a relative of his went in to see him. When we give it up. but also retained a very clear memory. not only made more restrictions. who. it continues to live. . for which he asked the visitor: “Have you performed the shraddha ceremony today? Have so and so (naming the persons) attended it. .. Shankar Rao later told me: “There is no fear for tonight. and I am forced to eat and drink. but who listens to me? Now my stomach is so upset that it cannot retain anything. who thoughtlessly restricted this. When after dinner one of the attendants came in to take his turn Bhagavan asked him: “Have you had your dinner?” . Next came the Moos. for Bhagavan’s body is not behaving in the way other bodies behave in similar circumstances. Sri Bhagavan today remarked: “From the beginning I said there was no need for all this. ?” which shows that he was not only clear in his mind. but also gave medicines which are far from being conducive to appetite. It all started with the homeopath. Dr. Evening darshan was also an half-an-hour run at the rate of about 30 persons to the minute.

and there is no gasping in evidence. Many devotees remained till late in the evening to receive the final medical oral report for the day. the headache was extremely severe. the head resting backward with open mouth. they looked in front rather than to the left where the devotees were filing past him. 10 p.m. to enable him to breathe freely – the 155 .” Friday.m. His breathing is not laboured. pulse 94.m. during which Maharshi’s eyes remained closed and when he occasionally opened them. 14th April Maharshi is in a very precarious condition. The Master is now propped on large pillows. Morning darshan ran for half an hour. Bhagavan has just told the attendants to go to sleep as he himself was going to do. At 9-30 Dr.4 (normal! what an irony!).At 10-15 p. a local physician and a great devotee. but the systole remained stationary at 68. 13th April. Owing to the very heavy attendance of visitors from all over the South. Morning observations: Maharshi’s diastole climbed up to 46. almost in a sitting posture. temperature 98. breathing 22 per minute. The whole morning has been spent by devotees in hushed gloom and with bated breath. walked up to me and said: “My own impression is that there is no immediate danger. 1950 Tamil New Year – 2 p. Krishnamurti. and two attendants briskly fanning him. His diet consists now of only butter-milk. nearly 1500. the evening darshan had to be lengthened to 45 minutes. the unanimous verdict is that it is positively the last. The attendants pressed and vigorously massaged the head and the legs. After evening darshan.

battle for air. Ashram workers.m. a few old disciples. The situation was tense: about five-hundred devotees were outside in sad expectation of the solemn last moment. has thus started. the whole congregation with one voice started chanting the Tamil hymns he had many years ago composed in praise of Lord Arunachala: “Arunachala Shiva. Blood relations. oxygen is administered to him for about five minutes. Many devotees griefstricken and beating their breasts. that it became necessary to give chance to all to pay their homage and pass the body in an orderly manner. The news spread like wildfire to the town and the neighbouring villages and drew huge crowds.) continuing unabatingly. he feebly asked that it should be stopped. A queue was thus formed – seven to ten broad – at a quick-march pace. Around the sofa sat dozens of disciples. lost control of their feeling and rushed en masse to the small room where the sacred body lay.. At 7 p.m. who has been here for about a fortnight with his wife. Arunachala!” till it came about 8-47. “I was in the open space in 156 . the crowd grew so thick. but Police officers immediately cordoned off the area till it was brought out and placed in the centre of the big darshan hall in yoga asana for all the people to pay their last respect to it. It is still (11-55 p.m. At about 9 p. some chanting Maharshi’s verses and other devotional hymns. Monsieur Cartier-Brassen. related an experience of his to me. the French photographer. but the others remained in silent contemplation. By 9-15. When the end was known to be approaching. “It is a most astonishing experience. Sandal-wood paste and jasmin flowers now cover the body and incense burns by its side. Arunachala Shiva.” he said. but seeing it gave him no relief. and some new aspirants went in by turn to have a last sight of him.

unlike any shooting star I had before seen. the Sarvadhikari. 157 . 15th April. The samadhi pit was dug 10½ x 10½ feet and seven feet deep.” Several other devotees in the Ashram and in the town later told me that they too had seen the tell-tale meteor. disappeared behind it. as did the queue of worshippers till 11-30 a. The singing and chanting of Vedas continued throughout. Then enormous garlands of fresh roses and jasmins were placed round the neck and strewn all over the body. where I saw a vividly-luminous shooting star with a luminous tail. N. coming from the South. attar. Because of its singularity we all guessed its import and immediately looked at our watches – it was 8-47 – and then raced to the Ashram only to find that our premonition had been only too sadly true: the Master had passed into Mahanirvana at that very minute. some snatched a few hours rest and returned early morning. followed by many bottles of rose-water. perfumes of all kinds and sweet smelling oils. poured over the sacred head dozens of pots of milk. mashed bananas and jackfruits. when my friends drew my attention to the sky. Sri Niranjanananda Swami. 1950 Many devotees kept vigil the whole of last night by the side of the sacred body. reaching the top of Arunachala. today when the body was taken out to the South verandah for puja and abhishekam. etc. orange juice. coconut water. curds. In its centre the masons isolated a small area of 4½ x 4½ feet and surrounded it by a wall built of granite stones. butter-milk. lime and cement.m.front of my house. Venkataraman. moving slowly across the sky and. The remaining portion they filled with many cartloads of sand said to have been brought from the sacred Ganges and Narbada valleys. assisted by his son Sri T..

. which by then had received the homage of not less than about 40. without waiting for the morning.000 persons was carried in a decorated palanquin reserved for the Deity of the temple to the samadhi. at once guessed its meaning and wrote to a friend of hers in Benares that the Maharshi had passed away. who was sitting on the balcony of her house in Bombay. hundreds of thousands of square miles. he immediately hired a taxi and came at top speed. to which Monsieur Cartier-Brassen and others referred last night and intuitively associated it with the Mahanirvana of the Master and. and sacred ashes to protect the body from worms and rapid disintegration. at 8-47 on the night of April 14. by a large number of people in different places and reported to the Press. Here it was placed in the same yoga-asana into a bag made of the finest khaddar. Kaikobad. which was then filled with pure camphor and lowered into the small area reserved for it. They also referred to the meteor which had been seen in the sky all over the State of Madras. Miss H. when he saw the meteor. These eye-witnesses had been 158 . salt. P. Petit. The crowd was so intense that twenty policemen were hardly sufficient to control it. 1950 All the English and Tamil papers which arrived this morning from Madras gave wide publicity in banner headlines to the passing of the Maharshi. 16th April.At 6-30 p. a Parsi devotee of the Maharshi. Then the pit was filled to the brim with camphor. and closed with masonry work.m. Mr. about a thousand miles away. the body. also saw the shooting star at that fateful minute. last night happened to be on the terrace of his house in Madras.

which led them to ascribe the strange phenomenon to the passing of a great spiritual soul. Such a mass of evidence speaks for itself.struck by its peculiar look and behaviour. if evidence need be. THE END 159 .

RESIDUAL REMINISCENCES OF RAMANA 160 .

PREFACE These few pages are the remnant of the memories which have been preserved by the author from his contact with his divine Guru. taking into consideration the author’s age of 80. Sri Ramana Maharshi. AUGUST 1975 SRI RAMANASRAMAM TIRUVANNAMALAI S. The major part of the matter included herein is a genuine memory-work and the small portion that bears dates and names is extracted from the author’s notebooks which are sprawled over not less than twenty-four in number. the long period that has elapsed between the time they were imprinted on his mind and the time (now) he was asked to write them down. Guru Ramana. The perspicacious reader will not wonder at their fewness but rather at their largeness. S. apart from the special two which served as the source of his first book. COHEN 161 . who passed into Mahanirvana a little more than twenty-five years ago.

He saw a leather-bound book by my side and asked me: “What book is that?” taking it to be. Brunton.” His answer came booming that he was not Mr. “Good morning. Mr. Brunton. said that I had come for about a week to study the Maharshi’s teaching and if I find it skull-racking like the Western philosophy which is all theory and not an ounce of experience. back I go. after the Maharshi returned from breakfast.” After a few days I sat in the hall almost alone. Major Chadwick answered: “The Maharshi is entirely different: if he is not all experience and practice. I spoke loudly to the big. and himself turning round in his chair to face me. is expected in a day or two.RESIDUAL REMINISCENCES OF RAMANA On the second or third day of my arrival at Sri Ramanasramam at Tiruvannamalai.” I said. pointing to a chair. I entered and addressing him straightaway. I hear.” This opening encouraged me to broach the subject of sex. a scriptural manual. I visited the only other foreigner-resident in this place. I guessed. hulking gentleman seated at the table writing. I answered that it was a notebook. Brunton and myself had a heated discussion on the question of sex and marriage. He chuckled and said to the interpreter: “Vellai Karan (the white man) does not move about without a notebook. I said: “Last night Mr. especially as it affects the spiritual life. Brunton but Major Chadwick and that nevertheless I could come in. Bose. in February 1936. but I did not agree with the loose way the West is dealing with it. “I bring you greetings from Mr. A. he is nothing. Still standing on the threshold of his temporary lodging. What does the Maharshi think about it?” The Maharshi kept silent for a moment and remarked: “As far as this sadhana is 162 .

One day I nudged Brunton by my side and whispered to him that the Veda reading was not adding to. He hardly finished when an Andhra woman entered in a huff. proving that the people liked it. leaving me to take it as I willed. the absolute Reality”. but that it was impeding my spiritual progress. You took him from me and you must return him to me. When I later told Bhagavan he simply kept silent as if he had not heard. The first and the second escapades of his were condoned. The more I read of him and his teachings the clearer I became in my mind about him. so much so that the chanting of the Veda Parayanam became an intolerable sound to my ears. Needless to say. I found him ready for me. if there was any such thing as progress at all. who was always there at that time for meditation and told him to ask me why I did not like the Veda Parayanam. The school in which he works does not want him anymore. which causes more dryness in the heart than bhakti. He comes here without taking leave. prostrated before Bhagavan and started shouting: “Give me my husband. If you get used to it and understand its purpose you will also like it”. as usual. Bhagavan laughed and said that it was because I was not used to it: “You see how the hall fills at that time in the evening. I am starving and he is without a job. He signalled to me to tell Bhagavan about it. But when the next day I went early to the hall. that the Veda boys did not seem to know what they were reciting.concerned Bramacharya means dwelling in Brahman. for as soon as I sat down. but they 163 . I answered. that it was not being chanted melodiously. that from the start I spent just about all my time in the hall and probed into any book that came my way on the Maharshi’s teaching. he turned to the interpreter. About three months passed and I continued to hold tight to the hall whenever Bhagavan was present.

That night in our stroll after dinner. Who did it but Bhagavan? I am perfectly willing to return home if Bhagavan releases me. Bhagavan told the woman that he had nothing to do with her husband’s behaviour. and that if he returned home with his wife he was most welcome.” Bhagavan was almost struck dumb at the cheek of this man. 164 .” The man all of a sudden began to shout: “Then who made me come but you? After Sri Aurobindo’s darshan I took the train to go to Andhra.cannot allow him unrestrained freedom forever. permitting anyone to enter or quit. Brunton advised me not to be in haste to judge the Maharshi’s influence and teaching. and that the answer the Maharshi had given me in the morning about the Veda Parayanam clearly indicated that I should wait. for we never saw her again on that day or the next. So I waited. let him say if I have at any time asked him to come or go. She apparently left Tiruvannamalai that very day. “This hall is open day and night. The man answered he would return after two or three days. but when I reached Villupuram my feet refused to enter the Andhra train and took the train to this place. “Let her go and I will follow. There is your husband. Please make him live the normal life of a husband and a responsible man. not now. not truth.” The woman said she would return and shot out of the hall to have a small chat with her husband outside. In all truth Bhagavan consciously had nothing to do with it and told the man that it was his own imagination which had fancied this story – that it was delusion. although we saw him many times throughout the remaining 13 or 14 years of Bhagavan’s life.” The man concerned was seen huddled near the north window and laughing in a subdued tone.

a peculiar. He was Supreme Detachment incarnate. Without this detachment the guru is bound to grow partial and discriminative. always near the foot of his couch. But in fact. guide and mature the disciples’ consciousness than the guru’s conscious interference. he showed not the least sign of it. Four. Seeing me from close quarters. Now it appears a heresy to me to accuse Bhagavan of such an act. for it ends by dissipating the special concentrated power inherent for the purpose in him. Bhagavan was doing nothing of the kind. Renunciation or surrender is the cornerstone of sadhana. and whether the Maharshi was aware of it as well. was easier for him to guess than if I were at greater distance.The dust of time gathered round me and I found myself settled down to the quiet life of the Ashram in my newlybuilt mud hut in Palakottu. continued lurking in my head. If he knew anything of it. six months have elapsed since my arrival. leading directly to Mukti itself. a thing which I had not felt before. reform. five. I thought. the notion that the guru always watched his disciples. Obviously. but began to notice a new turn in the working of my mind. as I discovered later. turned out across the years to be more potent in its action to purify. I waited. And I took several years of close proximity and experience to discover the reason of it. The strict aloofness which appeared to me at first as sheer callousness on the part of the Maharshi. slow but extremely subtle movement was taking place within my consciousness and I wondered what it could be. and with the Maharshi it was 165 . standing against the traditional concern said to be shown by the gurus to promote the spiritual advancement of their disciples. which is fatal to the intention of help.

not less than in other Ashrams. an entirely new trend in the process of my thinking. 166 . “clairaudient”. for I know nothing about them. The unconscious siddhis are all the divine powers which adhere to the SelfRealized man who has surrendered himself completely to God or absolute Reality. mental projection or any other means. Hectic business and the materialistic dispositions of the vast majority of men towards one another. and which act of their own accord without an appeal from the Jnani himself. which alone henceforth acts until the end of the lifetime of the Jnani’s body. follow the Jnani-Guru like his shadow. observing the changes in it. “initiate” and their fraternity. appeared to me like a confused dream. “occultist”. wherein no reason nor balanced judgements operated. and work out the miraculous transformation in the consciousness of the disciples at the right time. The Jnani had already divested himself of the personal will and had merged it into that of the Divine. it was like waking from a dream. but he never attempted consciously to give Self-Realization to any in all the fourteen years of my contact with him. Answering spiritual questions he always did. and towards their own selves. either by touch. but Bhagavan never deviated from the neutrality in his spiritual attitude towards them. To return to the state of my mind after the passage of some five or six months. without a call for them by the Jnani himself. I began to notice in the months that followed.the most complete. No doubt there have always been a number of deluded devotees who tried to ingratiate themselves with him in this Ashram. in their own interest and benefit. the divine powers which are inherent in the Self. Unconscious siddhis. I do not speak of the conscious siddhis which are claimed by the “clairvoyant”.

which could only be the result of my sadhana. It was the direction. even by people who appear to be sane and respectably situated. which I thought I was approaching for certain.namely. The very sensitiveness to the new state was bliss abounding. so to say. into which the Maharshi’s teaching and presence were leading me. which wallows in the mucky madness. which is a slow process. as they say. which is promised to serious seekers as a reward for their strenuous efforts? It seemed to me more than likely. an occasional “peeling off ”. I stayed and made the aim of my future life clear to myself without planning it and in spite of myself. as they say. The die is cast. of the clouds that had always weighed heavily on my mind and heart. In other words life was becoming less sinister and more bright than it was before. One day I got my opportunity and told him that I always understood that Realisation was sudden. That was all. maturing is required. but there was Bhagavan to corroborate or refute the validity of our experience. a grace which Bhagavan so freely distributed all around. I saw glimpses of the bliss which was said to be the very nature of the Self. Thus it became plain to me that it was this process that I had simply become aware of. and cannot be uncast. My joy can be imagined at this discovery. especially to those who had rendered themselves more responsive to it by their practice. My attitude towards staying or departing was now settled. I am not going to be a part of a world again. so to say. 167 . I “saw light”. like the ripening of an apple on a tree. I reasoned. He answered that it must not be forgotten that before the suddenness. Is this a sign of the falling ego. pursuing the glittering pleasures of life. and that too without doing it intentionally.

Besant translates Nirvana as ‘blown out’ or ‘blown off ’. where no object is observed. What counts is the meaning of it. or that Shunya and Consciousness (Chit) mean the same. He and I were walking together one afternoon talking about the political conditions then prevailing in Germany. Besant probably means Shunya which is correct. sometimes pelting them 168 .Looking at Bhagavan once I heard someone telling him: “Mrs. But even the ‘blown out’ carries this implication of the emptiness of the state. He said: “I do not believe that Mrs. as a thing to be transcended”. Bhagavan kept silent. Emptiness is the pure ‘nirvanic’ state of the Self or Turiya. She does not seem to mean what the Buddha meant by the word. Before the Second World War a European disciple of Bhagavan brought with him a friend from Germany. There is only the subject aware of nothing but himself as the Pure Consciousness – Chit.” But the intrepid questioner persisted in attributing to the Buddha a meaning other than ‘blown off’. How does Bhagavan translate it?” Bhagavan answered: “It is not the literal translation that counts. The more they persisted the angrier he became. Besant had an inkling of the meaning of Turiya being Shunya. whose knowledge of Bhagavan’s teaching may be definitely depicted as NIL. There can be no other meaning to Nirvana. the more so as they saw him getting angry. I told him to take no notice of them. Mrs. My companion made signs to them to go away. All of a sudden he broke from me and pursued them. Hinayana Buddhism takes Consciousness as always objective and stops at a certain degree of meditation. seeing a white face and blue eyes. stretched their hands demanding money. As usual the urchins living in the mantapams in Chengam Road. something like deep sleep in the waking state (sushupti in jagrat). but they persisted.

All this comes from the body: it is man’s greatest enemy. a uniform inner calmness was my reward. he would have added to their abuses and curses on his own body. as soon as he started to speak I forestalled him. they would have gone. and thus they would have left him in peace. With a crimson face he complained that they were abusing him. So. endangering my progress. For 169 . which I did not want him to do. Yet it was evidently wrong on my part to feel satisfied and slacken the pursuit of the enemy within. Examining his body I found it luckily safe from the stones cast at it. We reached the hall. Bhagavan sat quiet for a second and said: “Abusing whom? They saw a white body and thought it to be very rich and so would give them money. which one should treat as it deserves. as they do whenever I pass them. I told him had he ignored them. which was sufficient for my purpose then. where I felt he was going to complain to Bhagavan. by saying that the boys on the road were taking him for a rich European and had been giving him trouble by abusing him. Had he believed that they were abusing the body. The youthful zest began to lose its daily bread.with stones. the progress which I had built with so much labour. I was in my 50th year. until it began to be serious. till I ran after him and stopped him.” Years rolled on and I continued to practise my sadhana at an equal and steady tempo. which they reciprocated in kind. blaming the Ashram for permitting wandering tribes to live so close to it. In this case ignoring the beggars would have been the most salutary choice. But I must confess that I had not wasted my time. not him. You see how a senseless matter could have turned very serious out of sheer avidya. although physical fatigue started to imperceptibly slow it down. because they know I never give them anything.

who can now speak perfect English. On another day. If the latter happens. Most of them say. which loudly claims to have been surrendered. The translations should be in the best language to command respect. or he may dismally fail. at least in the course of his life. when asked. In fact most foreigners who visit this Ashram appear to have been educated in English and do not complain about the difficulties of our books. if not from the very beginning. because this is the stage when one is likely to slip into the false belief that one has attained Sahaja. i.” 170 .this calm may prove elusive. but is actually very much alive. Foreigners.e. that they had learned their English in schools. as we witness a number of Germans. but these are very few in comparison with the majority.. etc. I heard an old lady’s voice complaining to Bhagavan that the Ashram books were written in high English. Although you are right about complete foreigners to English. grammatical and idiomatic: “Will you read a French book which is loosely. Bhagavan answered that it couldn’t be helped because the language to be read by those who understand English must be good. making them terse and unintelligible to people who come from non English-speaking countries. due to his error of assessing his attainment. French. which is sure to follow. he will have to wait for full Realisation in another life. a state in which one feels that one is competent to open an Asramam of one’s own and succeed. Succeed he may. can make themselves well acquainted with the English used. real Liberation.. even ominous. he may return to his old sadhana and flourish. otherwise. The language should be made easier and the points well-developed. badly and non-idiomatically written? You will not touch it. by repeated reading. especially if he has a strong will.

Only one person was informed of my prospective return and that person had told Bhagavan. soon after. I said I had friends in Bombay whom I had not seen for ten years.In common with other disciples of the Maharshi. I returned ‘home’.m. at 8 a. although my sadhana continued unabatedly and my inner calm did not desert me. The day was hot and sultry and left me completely wretched from the heat. 1948. I had better go for a change. It had been the verandah to the north of the old hall. I used to tell Bhagavan of any project I intended forming. known as the ‘Jubilee hall’ since 1946. Tiruvannamalai at last. The nostalgia for Bhagavan after that period grew daily and so. Yet it was not the same. from a sleepless journey and from tiredness.m. I went to the Ashram after my bath. after two and a half years of residence in noisy Babylon. After the first flush of joy in Bombay I began to think of Ramanasramam and Bhagavan. but for nearly two and a half years I could not extricate myself and return to Tiruvannamalai. I awaited my chance to tell him of what I was planning and one day I got it. which was the 50th year of Bhagavan’s arrival at Tiruvannamalai. As I became aware of him coming from behind me. his face beaming upon spotting me. It was as if I was in Ramanasramam. I prostrated myself. I could go to them. offered my fruits and sat in the first line of the people present. And within a week I was in Bombay. At 10 a. godless Bombay. 171 . I returned home on the June 5th. whom I found as if waiting for me when I appeared in the new commodious hall. I told him that for some weeks I had been feeling a bit jaded: “Does Bhagavan advise me to go for a change?” He answered that it was the monotony to which I had not been used which was responsible for my tiredness.

After a year.” I saw a smile on his face and was happy. and Mrs. 1935 and left on the 24th at 9-30 a. I promptly answered: “No. His body had gone thinner. and walks with a pronounced stoop and a swing born of the unsteadiness of the legs. They were Mr. Rappold and Miss Ben and left India as Mr. after Bhagavan’s abbreviated original name ‘Venkata Ramana’. The flesh of his throat was more loose and hanging. He asked some questions in which Paul Brunton also joined.m. on the 23rd December.looking at him. a few years later in Varanasi on their way home. to put it mildly. I sat feeding my eyes on the face and body of Bhagavan to assess the destruction wrought on them by Lord Kala (Time-God). a ‘considerable’ German had arrived at the Ashram whom we call amongst ourselves ‘the Baron’ or Baron von Voltheim. I am finished with Bombay: I have come for good. they had a baby boy whom they named ‘Ramana’. He arrived at 4-30 p. Two new Americans – a young farmer and a youngish lady – I found added to the Ashram’s family of foreigners. From the beginning I felt they would end by being man and wife and so they did. I saw a question in his eyes and understood its meaning. He is a well-known.m. Nowadays he rises from the couch with greater difficulty. which he never did except on important cases. Bhagavan. Rappold. which were now almost emaciated compared to what they were in 1946. hyperbolic. yet his smiles and the twinkling of his eyes were still undimmed. About five weeks before my arrival he spent one night at the Ashram. especially his legs and thighs. The ashramites had 172 . Long before these Americans. He was then sixty-eight. one of the fourteen he was spending in India.

: The development is according to your sight. They must develop side by side. Q. As he did not want to sit on a chair out of respect for the Maharshi. there will be pictures of the world passing before one’s Consciousness. So they were not new to one another. In the Connemara Hotel in Madras.m. but Paul Brunton said: “Maharshi could do so but he could not vouchsafe it.m.” Question: “Beyond this intellect and before wisdom dawns. he rolled one of his blankets to make it a few inches high and sat on it on the ground. “Yes. and as he could not squat on the floor.: There is a spiritual awakening the world over since 1930. He left no marks behind him. Is it right? Does Maharshi agree?” As Bhagavan remained silent. when he was in the train which left Bombay at 2 p. except his questions in the ‘Journal’ and few details of his arrival and departure.therefore reason to believe the Baron to be ‘important’.” The Baron then told Maharshi that he (the Baron) had established contact with the Maharshi on the 19th December at 5 p. So far the questions were reasonable.” Bhagavan uttered his usual. Question: Will the Maharshi induce trance in me and give me an unspoken but understandable message? Answer: (Bhagavan kept silent). yes. signifying the pictures to be like reflections in a mirror. His first question was: “There should be harmony between the Knowledge of the Self and knowledge of the world. the first thing that he saw was the headline 173 . Is it so? Answer: Bhagavan pointed out the parallel passage in Dakshinamurti Stotra. but then the Baron’s partiality for occultism revealed itself. Paul Brunton answered: “Maharshi agrees. Does Maharshi agree? A.

which Voltheim Ostrau read in the train from Bombay to Madras.. he could not only touch but also massage his thighs. And those who were present at the meeting and conversation between the Baron and Bhagavan.m. We reproduce a portion of the article to give an idea of it: “On his arrival in India. and he reports that it did not impress him very much. as he was called in Germany. Our astonishment was the greater when last month (August.m. After some travel in South India he came to 174 . Voltheim-Ostrau (the Baron) was given a number of introductory letters to the most important Indian gurus. who wrote it down.” which he perused with interest. The Baron left the Ashram at about 9-30 a. that the Maharshi had prophesied the arrival of the Baron at 4-30 p. on the 23rd December. the next day. the post brought some literature from Germany. etc. One morning a few months afterwards. resuscitating the fiction of the prophetic slip. declared the massage of the legs was pure fiction. This created a stir among the disciples who had never witnessed the performance of any occult phenomena by Bhagavan. as proved by the paper dictated by Maharshi to Paul Brunton. 1975) we read in The Theosophist an article. At this point the Maharshi went out. but it did not prove to be the end of the Baron episode. written obviously by one of his admirers. to relieve his rheumatism.in the Madras Mail which read: “Two Europeans in Ramanashram. and in it we found the description of the visit by Baron von Voltheim-Ostrau. In the description he claimed that although the touch of the Maharshi’s body was prohibited. Among other papers he received was also a small pamphlet by Paul Brunton on Sri Ramana Maharshi.

he had not known himself that he would go to Tiruvannamalai that day.… This state. which developed further.Tiruvannamalai. I had a physical feeling of widening and weightlessness. where to his great surprise he was received by the Maharshi with the words: ‘You are the German whom I am expecting. Voltheim-Ostrau then asked whether his coming had been announced.m. on the journey from Bombay to Madras. for I went over into an almost bodiless and equally spaceless condition. VoltheimOstrau quotes the contents of the following conversation: ‘The Maharshi then asked in rather poor English: ‘Since when are you in touch with me?’ I looked up my diary and said: ‘Since 19th December 1935 at 4-30 p. I couldn’t say for how long. the first visiting card which the great guru gave me.” In the detailed chapter “The Greater Master”. so to say.’ This was.m. Voltheim-Ostrau tells of an impressive event. as if one would consciously observe one’s own falling asleep and having a dream . when I read Brunton’s booklet about you. The reply was negative. ask Paul Brunton and the Swamis!’ Thereupon the latter told him that during the morning the Maharshi had publicly announced that a German would arrive at exactly that hour. was accompanied by an increasing awareness. Voltheim-Ostrau was still occupied with writing down what the Maharshi had previously said. in which even normal time lost its importance.’ Thereupon I was shown a slip of paper by Brunton and the Swamis on which was written: ‘The German gentleman arriving this afternoon is in touch with the Maharshi from 19th December at 4-30 p. 175 . During a talk the Maharshi had gone into samadhi. in which the visit to the Maharshi and the astounding and penetrating conversations with him are described. when the latter suddenly looked at him: “We now looked into each other’s eyes.

which is only to be described as an enlargement and an ‘awakening’ in an extraordinary stage of consciousness.” He then continues: “My eyes immersed in the golden depths of the Maharshi’s eyes who dwelt in samadhi. in her book Phenomenologie der Mystik (Phenomenology of Mysticism) has quoted this experience of Voltheim-Ostrau together with a number of others. present and future. impersonal love extended itself over and through me on all that had ever entered my life. “From then onward this shining body appeared always when Voltheim-Ostrau put himself in touch with the Maharshi in meditation. I felt around me all the people and creatures with whom I had even been in touch – whether alive or dead – and I stood in an inexpressible state of peace without any problem or agitation towards them. including my past. Ochema. of a rare logical clarity of thought . The dark colour of his body slowly changed into white. in which he dealt extensively with 176 . The well-known German para-psychologist Dr. as if illuminated from inside.… I think I can best describe it as a feeling of an unimaginable state of equilibrium of my whole being. quite simply and shortly. in his five volume work. J. impersonal and yet full of warmest love. 1950. This white body became brighter and brighter. The Dutch philosopher and theosophist Prof. even after the latter’s death on 14th April. Gerda Walther. J. and began to shine …. something took place which I can only describe in deepest awe and in all modesty. and that an infinite. Now I saw and knew for myself why the whole of India revered this personality as a living god. truthfully. Poortman also mentioned this ‘shining body experience’ in connection with teachings and experience of other cultural groups.

the different ideas about subtle states of matter. was called and made to give the reason for his action. no one. His disciples are used to such claims by the variety of unperfected and immature people who come to the Ashram with all sorts of notions. or a psychical imbalance. Bhagavan used to show it to newcomers. An amusing incident took place years ago in the hall in the very presence of Bhagavan. We simply ignore them. the de jure Sarvadhikari was for a few days absent from his seat. can say anything. S. for the state of samadhi must have been within the mind or Consciousness of the Maharshi. The Sarvadhikari. S. and anyone who wanted to write a few lines of poetry were allowed to do so. the talks that took place in the hall on that day. had carried it away. it is a demonstration of avidya (ignorance). or a clairvoyant by merely wishing it at the top of one’s voice. The ‘Journal’ – two ledger-like tall books – used to be always in the hall. No one can become an occultist. all sorts of intellectual attitudes and abilities and all degrees of inflated egos. If it is anything. S. let us call him Mr. let us say. I. I. and in his place ruled the temporarily de facto Sarvadhikari. on the spot. The attendant said that Mr. They do more harm to their own selves than to anyone else. He said 177 . but the date is not of importance. It could be somewhere early in 1937. of course. not far from Bhagavan’s couch. As for the Maharshi’s samadhi during his talk with the Baron. I. and neither the Baron nor any occultist could have known its contents or that it is samadhi at all.” Here ends the quotation from the article. and the author of Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi used to write. or writing it in one’s diary. One morning Bhagavan wanted to have a look at it.

being the child of one’s own fancy where terror can be magnified to any degree one wishes. After finishing the history of Lakshmi. and to Ramanasramam by Mr. and immediately asked the attendant to follow S. Hence the Journal remained with S. her great attachment to him. the living God. 178 . So he obeyed orders. Some believe that she was a disciple of Bhagavan in her previous birth. and bring the Journal. etc. It was born in October 1946. of which immediately Bhagavan guessed the reason. They draw this conclusion from her birth.that Bhagavan had come to him in dream and ordered him to remove the Journal from the hall and never to return it. But the dream Bhagavan is terrible. On his return the attendant was without the Journal. Bhagavan seems to have developed a fancy for the white peacock which devotees think to be the incarnation of the late Madhavasami. but kept quiet. the events of her life. which had been brought from such a great distance as Baroda. and now the waking Bhagavan is ordering you”. his old attendant who died about two years ago. Bhagavan with an amused smile answered: “Well. joy and happiness suffuse the heart and there is no reason to fear him. Bhagavan takes up that of the white peacock. I. if you are so obedient you must go and fetch the Journal. I. and Bhagavan does not cause fear to anyone. Today (18-6-48) the famous cow Lakshmi died. for it was the dream Bhagavan who ordered you last night. When one thinks of Bhagavan. three months after the death of Madhavasami (July 1946) and brought to Madras in April 1947 by the Maharani of Baroda. He knew the innate superstitions of the people – they fear the dream God more than the real. David MacIver on the same day.

he corrected. I am absorbed in meditation seated at the first post.m. opposite Bhagavan’s couch. Secondly. library. I look at him. etc.” I at once understood and answered: “He goes round the Asramam for inspection. I look at my wristwatch. in the United States?” “Yes.” he answered and fell into silence. “At the age of 87?” “No. As there was no further talk I dipped again till 9-40 when I left. 23rd August 1948. twice.” I open my eyes. it used to sit in the very places where Madhavasami used to sit and. I am in a mood for meditation. 83”. I dip – once. I hear Bhagavan saying: “He is the superintendent of the Asramam. he is addressing me: “Grant Duff has passed away. as if scanning the titles of the books. also at the hours he used to visit these places. it is 9-10 a. pointing to the white peacock and says: “He’s the superintendent of the Asramam.” to which Bhagavan answered. Its habits used to be a copy of Madhava’s. 8-30 a. 25th June 1948. It must be to me. I remarked: “I am sorry if he had to suffer before his death.Bhagavan then watched the peacock’s movements: It used to go to the cupboard where books were kept and touched its glass door with its beak in a straight line from east to west. it used to appear in the hall and quit it at the very hours when Madhava used to come and go..” “Yes. thrice. He turns to me. The morning is fresh and Bhagavan seems cheerful. he is in a habit of going round and poking his nose into 179 . Yes. I hear him saying something in English. Hence the conclusion of several devotees that he was Madhava reincarnated. “I don’t know”. “Where. Bhagavan is observing. Thirdly. used to visit the office.m. bookshop.” I said. The hall is quiet and the devotees present are very few. like him.

26th March 1949. Bhagavan was still speaking about the peacock superintending the Ashram. Osborne. he answered: “By her. Leave me alone. etc. 6 p. I understood. She started screaming desperately: “Mr. But suddenly Mrs. “By whom?” I asked. D. Today Bhagavan’s left cheek is swollen. I am not going.” I said that homeopathy is very good.m. Vishvanathan . Why should I go back to this dirty world?” Then addressing her nephew: “Go: I am not coming..m.. Hardly ten minutes passed when lo! she reappeared walking on her own feet with her nephew by her side: obviously she 180 . but her nephew held her tight and pulled her. Venkataratnam offers Bhagavan something which he puts into his mouth. is going to compose one on the peacock. The cheek is less swollen today. doing sadhana. who last night recited in the hall a poem he had composed on cow Lakshmi. stood up and started to shout: “Why should I go? Bhagavan called me and I came to his feet. Mrs.” To Viswanathan. who barred her way back to the women’s sector of the hall. and looks at me smiling: “Homeopathy. by making an affirmative nod with his head.”. who has been staying here for a long time. D. 24th August 1948. Pointing to Mrs. Venkataramiah … Mr. “You are a mischief-maker. Tucking up his sleeves he carried her bodily in his arms like a baby.” At 6-15 p.” Louder and louder she shrieked. but when the carrying continued she quietened down. etc. and her nephew prostrated themselves before Bhagavan and asked his permission to go home to Kashmir. He adds that Harindranath Chatopadhyaya. I understand his gums are swollen.everything..” he says.

The other noise is the conversation with Bhagavan in languages I don’t understand. She prostrated normally and remained long in that posture. This was real departure. This is the same as ‘Who am I?’. Now both the methods are being used. But just now it is a question on ‘Who am I?’ and Self-Realization. I made up my mind to try as often as possible to meditate in the hall. to help the nephew on the way. to overcome the tendency to shy at noise. There is no mystery in it. as you argue any other problem. for she never returned – never to this day. After Mrs.” 181 . give them the freedom of the hall. when you forget your name. say. Where then is the question of using ‘Who am I?’ as a mantra to be repeated consciously or unconsciously? You have to argue it. Bhagavan speaks: “Whose Self is to be realized? Is there anyone who has no Self? Why magnify the Self as if it is something to be brought from outside? You are the Self. sometimes the subject is argued by the disciples themselves. or when you forget which one of two particular men is your uncle. Finally she got up and walked back to the car which was waiting outside. You practise Vichara for Self-Realization.had promised him to see Bhagavan for the last time and return. like a motor car which has no engine to make it move. wisely or unwisely. but as a rule it was addressed to Bhagavan. This is called ‘Vichara’ (enquiry as to who you are). especially of children whose mothers. the ‘You’ itself. the Being. which is a mere corpse. Bhagavan started commenting on her words: “Who is Bhagavan? Is he different from you?” After my return from Bombay. in English. You are the Self. D. left. your misfortune now is you think It is your body. Miss Merston was kind enough to accompany her to Madras. All you have to do is to understand this by ordinary common sense and arguments.

But I cannot go against my training. What happens to the meditation? Hence my stubborn advice to Chadwick not to meditate in the hall. The body also has consciousness. talk. I have no doubt that the Maharshi spoke from experience and is therefore right. which taught me that I am none other than the body. 182 . think. etc. A casual visitor got up from somewhere in the hall and came to the front line. because of lack of facility in the new verandah-hall. you do not have to believe your eyes. for him to remain undisturbed. I hear someone from the centre of the hall raise his voice and say. whereas we see the body move. but in his room. except that it is my Being. the ultimate Truth. etc. or what you call Chit or Consciousness. you have to believe Him. We cannot even conceive of the Self.. as I used to do. I go whereto all men go – never mind where. and when it dies it means my death also – I am finished. To the Guru what is said is crystal clear. I rolled all what you said in my mind and found that I cannot be convinced that the Self. but we cannot deny our senses which speak the opposite. hence He is in a position to teach the right way – from His experience. is my Being.Of course my whole attention goes to the words of Bhagavan. We learn from the Guru that all this is illusion. and that the greatest pramanam (one of the four evidences on which any valid argument is based) is the direct evidence which is the evidence of the eyes.” Bhagavan answered that that is why a trusted Guru is necessary. Anyhow. the Major had stopped meditating in the hall for some three years. He addressed Bhagavan bravely but respectfully: “I was here the other day in the hall when the Maharshi spoke about Self-Realization. “The whole trouble lies with the fact that the Self is not perceptible and the body is.

” On this day (27-3-1949) the second operation on Bhagavan’s elbow was performed. Some asthmatic wheezing used occasionally to issue from his chest in the cold season. But later. say in his sixties.“What does the Maharshi say?” Bhagavan kept silent for a minute and said: “So long as you admit the existence of Consciousness in the body. Little. “Parwa ille (never mind). What happened from February 1949 till April 1950 was recorded in brief details elsewhere. which he often refused to take.” Bhagavan said. I am a follower of Madhavacharya and a believer in Dualism. you see. Even in the West admission has been made by philosophers that the evidence of the senses has been found to be useless. It was to be the most decisive operation between surgical and non-surgical methods of treatment. with due respect to you. The whole of 1948 Bhagavan spent in comparatively sound health. in this book. Have you read them?” The answer came from the visitor that he had. and so it was vividly remembered by me. rheumatism which he had contracted earlier in life used to plague him with its constancy at the hip and knee-joints. But hardly did 1948 turn into 1949 when the body began to suffer in real earnest. the greatest because life is far more important than the body without life. Bhagavan. Yet it must be confessed here that long before the end of 183 . but it never amounted to an attack. waving the offerer away. Sir. I’ll be taken for a heretic if I go against my faith. there is the hope that one day you will want to know what it is. I think the attendants were keeping some home-made remedy for it. In fact in all his life he never suffered any serious illness. as the greatest pramana. “But. little ailments used to come and go as with children. and you will want to know it by itself. as if to tell him ‘don’t fuss’.

They won. As the treatment grew more and more serious and painful. He thought the doctor’s surgical treatment was absolutely unnecessary and would not alter what was destined for the body from the day of its birth. who rely on the symptoms to prescribe the remedies. he used to remind the devotees and the doctors of his first wishes to leave the tumour to itself and to do nothing. and they had nothing to give them solace but a blind hope and the distracted prophecies of some pseudo-astrologers. Contrary to his habitual reticence.. Bhagavan himself did not take the matter seriously. Siddha. as in the beginning he used to say that he was feeling no pain. So the second operation had to follow. as ordained by Providence. from time to time. I am only writing my Reminiscences and have to record what I saw happening at that time. They all abhorred the use of the knife which scattered the symptoms and confused the physicians. especially the homeopaths. which were unavailingly used later. I was passing by the Ashram’s office when I saw Major Chadwick entering it. Malabari. But the allopaths insisted on doing their duty and their level best for him through surgery and radium application. 1949. most of his old devotees knew that the Master was going to physically leave them and enter into Videhamukti. leaving Bhagavan resigned to his fate.1949. On this 16th day of December. It was his destiny he might have thought and so the best thing for him to do was to bear it all silently. Yet he would have certainly approved of the other medical systems – nonsurgical – which were harmless and in all probability would have given him some relief. etc. though not cure – Homeopathy. I am not assigning responsibility or even mentioning names: it being too late in the day to do so. he was heard speaking 184 .

When the competent Mr. there was no real. as he did the knife. what good did it all do? Let him. Real homeopathy is of great power and quick acting. T.. After a few preliminary words he grew heated at the news. Iyer arrived. and who knows if it would not have won the medical race? Bhagavan also would not have objected to it. even the hardy Sarvadhikari was numbed into silence. He stunned all the people present. who were at least highly qualified medical practitioners and had half a lifetime of experience and practice. when the tumour was not bigger than a pea and the diagnosis of sarcoma had not yet been confirmed. Raising his gigantic voice he admonished the authorities: “How long are you going to cut Bhagavan? Let him go without this torture. S. The one who was available was utterly incompetent. let him. he did not stay long enough for what homeopathy demands – time and more time. which was paying the allopathic piper.about Bhagavan’s fourth operation which was fixed for the 19th.” gathering his vocal momentum at each ‘let him’. should have been given an adequate chance. Or was it because he had no hopes? Who remained in the field competing were the allopaths. particularly on the 9th February. but nobody’s advice was worth anything before that of the advisory inner Council. let him go. In homeopathy for example. competent and qualified physician. My sympathy was all with Chadwick.. So many times you operated. My only grudge was that some other medical systems.. especially homeopathy. I do not blame the authorities for not trying the other medical systems straightaway without any knowledge of them. being a beginner. which becoming useless after the knife was used. until the Major left after a few minutes. 185 .

to which Bhagavan objected. Bhagavan decided to make the tiny room next to the lavatory his permanent bedroom. to that also Bhagavan objected.m. on the 1st of January 1950. So at about 9 p. where he gave darshan from the 2nd January onward to the devotees who flocked by the hundreds. which he could not cross and recross many times a day to go to and come from the lavatory. so that Bhagavan may never need to leave the hall.Dr. It was admitted on all sides that Ramanasramam did its work as 186 . What happened to Bhagavan’s body in the three-and-ahalf months which followed. contrary to the denial of some devotees. and immediately moved to it with the help of his silent attendants from the dispensary. which worked for two nights. where he had been staying since the 19th December 1949. It was in the narrow passage of this small bedroom that the sofa of Bhagavan was placed in the daytime. that he had given a sleeping draft to Bhagavan on the 19th. He planned to make the lavatory inside the temple hall. He never again crossed the stone threshold. which reminds one of the abandonment of Dwaraka by Krishna. On the 31st December the Sarvadhikari came to know of the definite complaint of Bhagavan against the Temple hall’s stone threshold. is public knowledge through the newspapers. Next. through the Ashram’s books and through the devotees who were having his darshan twice a day. to make the alteration. the Sarvadhikari turned to the old hall and started to remove stone slabs from a part of its floor. until the last moment in and around Sri Ramanasramam. Shankar Rao admitted to me on the 21st and 23rd December. who thought Bhagavan would not have taken it.

bedroom. the Guru of Gurus and Supreme Consciousness and Grace personified. as loyal disciples of Bhagavan. and could not have done it otherwise for lack of other medical mediums at the right time. And when one raises one’s eyes and sees his life-size photograph installed on the very couch he had used. through the action of a grim DESTINY. and so. one cannot but respond in love and adoration of him who used to be called Bhagavan Ramana Arunachala. office. Those who visited the Ashram after the Mahanirvana of Bhagavan know that the old hall has since become the most holy meditation hall of the Ashram. and be thankful to Bhagavan that his presence continues to be felt as much by old as by new devotees. and feels as if the physical presence is actually there too.was expected of it. Besides. even by some who were not yet born at the time he was still in the body as pure knowledge and eternal bliss. leaning on the very cushions which had supported his back and limbs for a good number of years. one transcends the illusion of time and space. due to its longest association with the Master as his reception hall. study and the receptacle of his sublime teaching. OM TAT SAT 187 . we have to have his faith that everything was ordained by Providence.

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